A day after four Yuva Sena workers were taken into custody for allegedly beating up two Kashmiri students in a Maharashtra college in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, at least 19 Kashmiri students are on their way back to the Kashmir Valley.
The incident came to light in the immediate aftermath of Pulwama terrorist attack on 14 February that claimed the lives of 42 CRPF personnel. Reports of angry mobs rounding up on Kashmiri students, with or without provocation, filtered in from several parts of the country.
In Yavatmal too, incidentally the same Maharashtra town from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to avenge the killings of soldiers, two Kashmiri students were assaulted on Wednesday. The students studying at the Dayabhai Patel Physical Education college in the Yavatmal district of the state were allegedly beaten up by members of the Yuva Sena, the student wing of the Shiv Sena. The students, 19 and 18 years of age, boarded a train to Jammu along with 17 other students of the institute on Friday.
Reportedly, they will travel to their homes in Kashmir from Jammu.
The 19-year-old student was quoted by The Indian Express as saying, "We were all planning to travel after the end of the practical exams on 28 February. But parents of some students were repeatedly calling me and asking me to bring them back. I had arranged for their admission in this college, so that's why we decided to return early." He added that he would "definitely" return, however, some students quoted in the report expressed uncertainty and fear due to the violence that has sprouted against Kashmiris across the country.
Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray said Friday that the organisation has sacked those who had assaulted the Kashmiri students. According to reports, they were also arrested but while the district vice-president of the organisation was sent to "magisterial custody", the other three were granted bail after being booked under sections of the IPC and the Bombay Police Act, the newspaper report said.
"The party has sacked those involved in the act. Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India and no Indian, or for that matter, nobody should face the brunt of anger that is towards terrorism. We understand the angst but it must be against terror, not innocent people," Aditya tweeted on Friday.
A video of the incident had gone viral on social media and a police case was registered. As per one of the victims, they were asked to say 'Vande Mataram', slapped and abused. The attackers also asked them to vacate their rented accommodations within four days. Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai had said on Thursday that the incident was condemnable, and action will be taken against the attackers if they turned out to be Yuva Sena workers.
Meanwhile, the Government of India took note of these incidents and advised university administrations to ensure security of students. The University Grants Commission was directed by the Human Resource Development Ministry to issue an advisory to all the universities to ensure that the security of Kashmiri students is not compromised.
"In the context of reports being received through various media regarding the safety of students from Kashmir studying in various higher educational institutions, all universities and colleges affiliated to them are advised to ensure the safety and protection of the students on the campus. They may keep a watch on the situation and seek the support of law and order machinery in case of any untoward incident," the UGC letter said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2019 11:12:45 IST