February 2016 News

Geelani, Omar On Same Page On JNU Issues

18 February 2016
India Today
Naseer Ganai

Srinagar: Separatist Hurriyat Conference and Kashmir based human rights groups have come out in support of striking students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University and have condemned registration of FIR against former Delhi University Professor SAR Geelani. They also condemned alleged harassment of Kashmiri students in various campuses in Delhi and other places. Already former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah has said the harassment and hounding of Kashmiri students in Delhi on the pretext of the JNU crackdown was unacceptable and reeked of an all-too-familiar profiling of Kashmiris in the national capital. Hurriyat Conference hard-line faction chairman Syed Ali Geelani Thursday also apprehended that the SAR Geelani and other Kashmiri students will be made scapegoat by Delhi police. Geelani, in a statement issued from New Delhi, warned of protests if SAR Geelani and others are harmed. Kashmir based human rights groups have expressed solidarity with the striking students and teachers of JNU. 'We have watched with a sense of horror and dismay, the violent criminalizing of student democracy and dissent, not just at Jawaharlal Nehru University but across Indian campuses in the recent past. Having long and intimate knowledge of violent repression and legalized impunity that Indian state is capable of, especially against those it considers 'anti-national' we are not surprised by these events, but have a special empathy with all who suffer its horrors,' Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a amalgam of different human rights groups based in Kashmir, said. 'We demand the release of all student dissenters and political prisoners in the custody of the Indian state, and an end to acts of policing and surveillance on campuses, and targeting of students on the basis of political beliefs and speech,' the JKCCS statement said. The JKCSS said 'Kashmiri students in different colleges and universities in India, who have always faced discrimination and intimidation time to time, are now feeling the extreme regressive and oppressive means used by right wing groups and the government.' 'After being hounded, Kashmiri students have begun leaving Delhi. There are several places where the landlords in whose properties Kashmiri students were renting flats, have been asked to vacate. These experiences of Kashmiri students are part of the larger reality faced by Kashmiri youth in Jammu and Kashmir and in India,' the JKCCS alleged. On Wednesday National Conference president Omar Abdullah said if the Delhi Police and the Home Ministry want to unleash a dictatorial and tyrannical crackdown on dissenting voices and students in Delhi, they should not make Kashmiri students convenient scapegoats and stigmatize them and in turn ruin their careers. 'This is unacceptable', Abdullah said in strong worded statement. 'There have been numerous instances in the past when the Delhi Police has cited 'intelligence inputs' to falsely implicate young Kashmiris in Delhi only to be acquitted by the courts after years of incarceration. Now this recent decision to hound Kashmiri students from JNU and other colleges seems to be another addition to this chapter. We express our resentment against this blanket stereotyping and maligning of Kashmiri students and demand that the Government of India desists from ruining their careers for the benefit of political expediency', he added. Abdullah said such policies of selective persecution and profiling adds to the perception of alienation and isolation among the youth of the State. 'The message this type of policing sends out is disastrous and has severe long term implications on the psyche of our youth. Profiling and hounding Kashmiri students on one pretext or the other creates a deep sense of insecurity and apprehension among thousands of our students enrolled in universities across the country. This is extremely unfortunate and we will not remain silent and allow their en-masse persecution', Abdullah said.