The UGC on Friday wrote to vice-chancellors of varsities across the country to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students.
A large number of Kashmiri students were over the past week expelled from various universities for their alleged anti-national activity on social media. Or, like dozens of traders and labourers from the Valley, they were “hounded out”. Seeing their fate, hundreds more decided to return home.
Most of them now see a bleak future ahead. Though the Supreme Court on Friday asked 10 states to take "prompt action" to ensure Kashmiris do not face social boycott or attacks, many of these students interviewed by this newspaper said that they do not want to return to their institutions as they fear further intimidation.
Their parents, too, are now reluctant to send them out. "There's no guarantee that they will not be attacked or harassed again," said Muhammad Najeeb whose son was among over 300 students escorted back to the Valley by a Sikh charity, Khalsa Aid, after being evicted from private accommodations in Dehradun.
Where would these students now go? "I'm trying to send my son abroad, may be Malaysia or Turkey," said Mr. Najeeb. But everyone cannot afford it. "They are right to be worried. They can't push their children into danger again nor can they afford to ignore the urgency of securing their future," said G.N. Var, chairman of Private Schools' Association of Jammu and Kashmir.
As a stopgap arrangement and to avoid academic loss, the Coaching Centres Association of Kashmir has decided to offer free admission to these students back home. “We have faculty and means to provide them with the education in the majority of subjects, be it BBA, BCA, B.Tech, MBA or any other subject,” said Dr. B.A. Shah, spokesperson for CCAK.
Though Union Human Resources and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar had denied that Kashmiri students had been targeted, Mr Shah said that some of the stories narrated by the students are harrowing. “Their experiences will haunt them for a long time,” he said.
The UGC on Friday wrote to vice-chancellors of varsities across the country to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students. A day earlier, it had asked the HRD ministry to issue an advisory to all universities.