A Kashmiri professor was forced to resign from a private university in Punjab in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, even as Kashmiri students scattered across North India continue being harassed and attacked. There have been sporadic reports of Kashmiri students having been rusticated from higher educational institutions.
The professor from Baramulla district in Jammu & Kashmir, Salman Shaheen, taught English at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Jalandhar, and was forced to resign by the authorities.
“A female student from Uttar Pradesh had put up a Whatsapp story, where she was criticizing Kashmiris,” said Shaheen, speaking to Newsclick.
Read more: Kashmir Without Kashmiris?
“I commented on the story in the personal chat and said I condemn the killings of CRPF men and extend my heartfelt condolences, but one should not forget how innocent civilians are killed in Kashmir. Instead of using gun, we need to use the language of love.”
He said the student asked him to explain the status of one Sikh man who had written, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’.
Shaheen said, “When she asked for explanation, I said the Sikh guy meant that just like the CRPF personnel, Kashmiri civilians have also died in Kashmir, we should also pay attention their tragedy. But she took the screenshot of the explanation and circulated it widely in some groups. The screenshot was did not contain the entire chat, but only half information out of context, and it may have looked as if I had written something objectionable.”
As per Shaheen, after the screenshot went viral, he was asked by the LPU authorities to either resign or face suspension for 2 months and forego his experience certificate from the university.
“First, the authorities said this was not a big issue after reading the entire conversation. But when the girl was called, she protested and made a mountain out of a molehill, after which the authorities asked me to either resign, or else they would suspend me for 2 months and not give me any experience certificate,” Shaheen said.
“When I protested, asking what if I didn’t take wither of these options, they said they woulld send the false screenshot circulated by the girl to police. So I asked if they would give my certificate if I resigned now. They said they will, and I resgined.”
But it gets worse. As Shaheen was heading home after tendering his resignation, he was followed by a mob of 20 people.
“The mob followed me, but luckily they did not know my building and I escaped. I locked the door from outside because in case the mob reached, they would find the door locked and would leave. I, along with my roommate, hid in the washroom. We called police from there. As soon as police reached, we booked an Ola cab and left for Chandigarh. Spent a night there and left for Kashmir,” Shaheen told Newsclick.
“Now, I am in Kashmir.”
Read more: Contextualising Pulwama Attack and the Rise of New Kashmiri Militancy
This is not the first incident of its kind. Earlier, a Kashmiri dean of a college in Dehradun was suspended after a slew of Hindutva activists demanded that he be sacked.
Meanhwhile, seven Kashmiri students have also been suspended by Roorkee-based Quantam Global University. The students have been suspended for allegedly “anti-national” social media posts. As per reports, around 450 students had gathered in the campus to demand the explusion of Kashmiri students.
Panic ensued after several Kashmiri students were harassed and beaten up in different states of India after the Pulwama attack. Since then, most Kashmiri students have fled from their colleges and have temporarily returned to Kashmir.
After the recent report of shawl sellers being beaten up in Delhi, the latest news of Kashmiri students being beaten up and threatened comes from Yavatmal in Maharashtra. As per sources, police have been called and are taking care of the students. This is the first such incident reported from Maharashtra.