Riyaz Ul Khaliq
As student brawl took ugly turn in Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) in Rajouri on Monday with vehicles burnt down, Kashmir Life got in touch with several students to know the reason behind the current tension.
The first person narrative of the events which led to Monday’s campus fight is being produced here:
Locals of Rajouri and Poonch last week decided to go home as there were at least three state government holidays: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They planned to skip classes for Saturday as well and would come back on Sunday.
However, the non-local students, Kashmiris form majority of them, joined back classwork on Saturday after three days of rest.
Some local students returned only on Saturday as they had come to know that their counterparts, non-local students, had resumed classwork. Around 5:30 in the evening, one of the Kashmiri students of BTech (6th semester), named X, was in Taj Hostel. Others were either home or playing outside.
Enraged over resumption of classwork by Kashmiri students on Saturday, some local students led by one student Z caught hold of this student X. He was attacked, beaten ruthlessly and sustained injuries.
When Kashmiri students came to know about it, we rushed him to a local hospital in Rajouri city. He had bruises on his neck.
Next day, on Sunday morning, we rushed to Police Station Rajouri and asked the official concerned to file FIR in the case. They refused.
Registrar and Dean Students Welfare called students from both the groups on Sunday after we returned from Police Station Rajouri. Vice Chancellor is not present in the University for last few days.
The matter was sorted out as there was compromise from both the sides but brawls continued. The registrar and Dean Students Welfare came to the hostels and held deliberations with students. It remained normal thereafter on Sunday.
Classwork resumed this morning but locals maintained distance and around 11:30 am, they came and beat few Kashmiri students. A student was left with a fractured arm. It enraged other Kashmiris and a fight ensued which is still going. Some Kashmiri students residing outside varsity campus too have been harassed by local goons.
I am sitting in my room but atmosphere outside is violent. There is stone pelting and some college and private property has been damaged.
As the reports come from the BGSBU this evening, two vehicles and a motor cycle are burnt down by the students.
Vice Chancellor of BGSBU, Prof Javed Musarrat, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts by this reporter. His special secretary, Suneet Gupta directed Kashmir Life to Registrar. “VC shall be on the spot within minutes. You speak to Registrar.”
When asked as why VC wasn’t present in the campus today, he replied, “Because there were many holidays in last week.”
Expressing his inability to comment on what led to the violence in the BGSBU campus on Monday, Registrar of the varsity, Ataat Hussain, told Kashmir Life over phone, “Kashmiri students have been sent to hostels and police men are talking to locals at the main gate of BGSBU.”
When asked why University administration was silent over the issue he replied, “We were on the job and pleading students to resume normalcy but they were adamant. And when situation was out of control, police were called in.”
However, he added, “police are intervening without any force.”
Kashmir Life contacted SSP Rajouri for his comment but his cell phone is switched off. When contacted SHO Rajouri could not speak as he is on the spot.
Speaking to Kashmir Life, a cop from Police Station Rajouri confirmed that some students had approached them for registration of case in the incident (attack on Kashmiri student on Saturday). “The students said it was attempt to murder but there was no proof,” the cop said.
When asked why there was no action still in this case, he replied, “our police post is there (BGSBU) and we too went but the two student groups compromised and our role ended.” “We were told that it is a student issue, so we had no role in it.”
Notably, BGSBU Rajouri campus has been often witnessing clashes between locals and non-locals. Last time, it was in April that two Kashmiri students were beaten in varsity dining hall.
And next time, it was in August when students protested against the varsity officials for scams and biased administration. University was shut sine die after students were adamant with their demands.
Finally, in October, Prof Javed Musarrat took over as Vice-Chancellor of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University Rajouri. The students had accused former VC and Registrar of grave allegations including corruption.