Skirmishes between some Indian and Afghan students of the sprawling Sharda University in Greater Noida, which had been sporadically erupting over the last two days, resulted in fresh violence on Thursday, with a Kashmiri student being beaten up. The private university has been closed down for three days and a heavy contingent of police has been deployed in the campus.
According to sources, the Kashmiri student was thrashed by a group of students after he was mistaken for an Afghan national. The victim, Ahtisham Bilal, a first-year student of Bachelors in Medical Imaging Technology, was rushed to a nearby hospita. A
According to eyewitnesses, Bilal was sitting in the campus lawn when he was attacked .A student and eyewitness, who didn’t wish to be named, said Bilal was injured when a scuffle broke out between some local and Afghan students.
“A group of students ruthlessly beat him up, leaving him badly injured. Following the attack, Kashmiri students are feeling insecure in the varsity,” he said.
The trouble began on Monday when a brawl broke out between some Indian and Afghan students over a “trivial matter”, said sources. A video purportedly showed an Indian student hurling expletives at an Afghan who then roughed him up. Soon, multiple videos emerged on social media which showed the two groups engaging in a face-off. Taking cognizance of the videos, the university management suspended three Afghans and sent show-cause notices to 10 Indian students.
The Hindustan Times
cited Ajit Kumar, spokesperson, Sharda University, as saying that “A high level committee will investigate the matter and take action on Monday when the university reopens. We have shut the campus for three days and postponed all exams. The Kashmiri student was manhandled and was treated at Sharda Hospital.”
On Thursday, another fight reportedly broke out on the campus between two groups. A mob reportedly dragged some Afghan students out of an examination hall and attacked them. The attackers also shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and demanded that the Afghan students be sent back to their country, an unidentified eyewitness claimed, as reported by the Indian Express.
Meanwhile, a police official
, who did not wish to be named, alleged lack of cooperation from the university and said, "The officials of the deemed university have gone careless on the matter simmering since Monday and that has led to this situation."
“During the period a probe will be held to ascertain the cause of the fight and action taken against those guilty,” another police official said. “The police have taken the cognizance of the case on its own. The Kashmiri student has suffered minor injuries, more of punches and slaps, but was sent for medical examination so that it could be checked if there is any internal injury.”
He added: “We have booked 350-400 students, Indians and Afghans both, and we are probing the matter. Students are being identified on the basis of the footage that has surfaced and we will soon quiz them and initiate action.”
The students were booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to rioting, intentional insult to breach peace, criminal intimidation, voluntarily hurting someone and assault.
Meanwhile, thrashing of the Kashmiri student has evoked a sharp reaction in the valley. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, former Chief Minister and Vice-President of National Conference, Omar Abdullah said, “This requires a proper and impartial investigation. Let facts be brought out & guilty persons punished. I hope @rajnathsingh @HMOIndia will direct the UP Government & @noidapolice to reassure the students while investigation proceeds.”
According to a report in Rising Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath on Friday morning, and urged him to ensure Kashmiri students are safe in the state’s educational institutions.