9 February 2014
SRINAGAR: Some of the Kashmiri students from Meerut’s Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, who have now returned home to an angry welcome by political outfits in the restive region, have said the sedition charges against them had taken them completely by surprise. Most of them had a radically different view of the incident and how the action actually unraveled.
“We were watching the match with other students in the university campus,” Mateef Ahmad recounted. “But as soon as the match ended and Pakistan won, there were abuses flying around. When we (the Kashmiri students) were moving towards our hostel, they (the non-Kashmiri group) followed us and then pelted stones which resulted in the breakage of the window panes of our hostel rooms.”
Another student, Shahid Shah, said that the college administration was misleading the media by saying it was the Kashmiri students who had raised the pro-Pakistan slogans. “It is totally wrong,” Shah said. “We just ran toward our rooms when the fighting erupted. We feared for our lives. We also never distributed sweets in the hostel. I don’t understand why they want to frame us? Why is the university administration playing with our careers? What is our fault?”
Another student added that suspension from the hostel was harsh enough. “The sedition charges were completely unfair,” he said.
Joining the simmering row, Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, called for a complete shut down of the Valley on Friday and condemned in one voice the action of the UP police against the Kashmiri students.
Dozens of the associations — like the Joint Action Committee of Government Employees’ Union, Kashmir Bar Association and medical groups — have joined the protests and vowed to fight for the students.