When Imtiyaz refused to say ‘bharat mata ki jai’

Image by Khurshid Ahanger (JandK Now)

SRINAGAR: Courier delivery boy, Imtiyaz Ahmad Sheikh, on Sunday narrated his ordeal of being thrashed by non-Kashmiri students when he refused to say the slogan ‘bharat mata ki jai’ at National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, on April 1.

Imtiyaz addressed a press conference along with independent legislator Er Abdul Rasheed at Srinagar today.

Imtiyaz works with a private courier company and was on a routine visit to the institute on Friday, where he had been going for two years. “When I went inside the NIT, there was a protest going on outside the director’s office… I asked my friends, who are from Shopian, about the protest and they informed me that they celebrated India’s loss in cricket match and the non-Kashmiri students were protesting against it.”

In the meanwhile, clashes broke between Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri students, and Imtiyaz packed his bag. “But one guy noticed me… he abused my mother and sister and asked me to run away,” said Imtiyaz, who refused to leave at first. “He said this NIT is ours, you go out of here.” Terrified Imtiyaz agreed this time.

This is when another student approached to him and asked him to say ‘bharat mata ki jai’, after which he would be let free. “I said I cannot say this even if you beat me,” said Imtiyaz. “As I said this, someone came from my back and hit my head with a bat.”

“I fell down,” he said. “Another boy hit me with a glass and then they kicked me and beat me a lot.”

Police soon arrived on spot and rescued Imtiyaz and rushed him to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, for treatment. “Doctor said that I looked very critical,” said Imtiyaz.

The next day Imtiyaz approached police station Nigeen and the concerned Station House Officer asked him to “come tomorrow.” However, police have refused to provide him a copy of FIR (First Investigation Report) even today.

Er Rasheed, meanwhile, demanded booking of the attackers under ‘attempt to murder’ case. He demanded strong and immediate action against the “goons” who attacked Imtiyaz and other Kashmiri students.

Rasheed warned of “dire consequences” if the acts of “harassing, torturing and humiliating Kashmiris” were not stopped within and outside Jammu and Kashmir.

The legislator accused the police of giving a free hand to non-Kashmiri students who, Rasheed said, “have been receiving appreciations from RSS and other right wing Hindu organisations for daring to attack Kashmiris in their own land.”

Rasheed further said: “If police shows reluctance in lodging FIR, we will be forced to have a sit in at NIT and may also use other legal remedies. The same police which is treating these goons like special guests, has made life of youth of Downtown miserable and hell just for the reason that it wants to please New Delhi.”

“Let police not force us to behave the same way as Raj Thakray and his colleagues have been doing with the outsiders,” Rasheed said. He also expressed his concern over the “continuous harassment” of Kashmiri students in various institutions and universities all over India and said that the Kashmiri students in Bharkatullah University, Bhopal, were facing the worst.

“On behalf of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, we want to give a strong message to New Delhi that don’t play this bloody and dirty game,” said Rasheed.

He said the government of India should introspect why people of Kashmir celebrated India’s defeat in the cricket match. “Where are those 80% people who voted for you (government)? It proved that the votes were for ‘sadak, bijli aor paani’ (road, electricity and water).”