Dozens of Kashmiri students, who allegedly faced “harassment” in different educational institutions across the country, especially in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), have started returning home, state officials have confirmed. Among those who allegedly received threats is Shehla Rashid Shora, vice-president of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) and the first Kashmiri girl to be a JNUSU leader. She allegedly received “threats” from right-wing elements.

The returning of students has brought former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the entire separatist leadership on the same page, threatening agitation, if the “hounding” of Kashmiri students was not stopped forthwith.

“I was summoned to the police station and grilled for hours. I was allowed to leave after interrogation and I heard police officials telling each other that I would be formally arrested in a few days. I purchased an air ticket and returned. So is the story of many of my colleagues who were studying in JNU,” Muhammad Ibrahim (name changed) told The Sunday Guardian after returning home.

JNU has had a strong connection with Kashmir from the past, but after Shora was elected JNUSU vice-president, students started talking about Kashmir inside the campus and the situation prevailing there, claimed many of the students who returned. They alleged that they have never seen such a hostile atmosphere on JNU campus and the “police harassment” has finally forced them to return. Many students who returned told media persons here that they were allegedly harassed by Delhi police after the JNU agitation and they fear that they may be booked in false cases.

The students who have returned alleged that there is a conspiracy against them so that they are hounded out from all the prestigious educational institutions of the country. “We cannot come out of our rooms, and those who came back found it very difficult even to reach the airport,” one of the students told media persons.

The female students alleged that even the JNU authorities are not coming to their rescue within the campus as they are facing threats and they now have only one alternative to return. The parents have started calling back their wards as they are very afraid following the JNU agitation. “There is a perception that Kashmiri students would be framed and rest of the students would be set free,” said one of the parents who called back his daughter and son from JNU.

Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has warned of launching an agitation if Delhi police and right-wing elements don’t stop harassing Kashmiri students. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that the “hounding” of Kashmiri students was unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has expressed concern over the plight of Kashmiri students outside the state. “Kashmiri students outside the state have always faced discrimination and intimidation and are now feeling extreme repressive means used by police and right wing groups,” the statement issued by the JKCCS said. The Kashmir University Teachers’ Association has said that the “harassment” of Kashmiri students was unacceptable.

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