In last 25 years of conflict, Kashmir University has seen many phases, including the troubled ones. But there was never an instance when students were made feel aliens in their own varsity like they are feeling today. It all started with the arrest of a third semester MA English student named Muzamil Dar outside one of the gates of University by SOG of police. He is accused of having links with the militants. And after a day of his arrest, when his colleagues started protesting inside the campus against what they feel is illegal detention of a student, police came up with a press note asserting his “militant links”.
Then next day students once again started protesting against the illegal detention of Muzamil, but only to face the worst. They were subjected to beating by the police and to everybody’s surprise live rounds were fired in the air to disperse the students. In the melee a number of students got injured, as well.
Perhaps this is the only campus in world where gun shots (Flash bangs) are used by the state to disperse the protesting students. In last 25 years of conflict, KU has become an easy target for state and its powerful hands. At any given time police can enter the campus, at will, and arrest or take away students they have slightest of suspicion about. KU is highly militarized decry students who are often at the receiving end of the state’s might. At no other University across the world police is allowed to enter the campus without permission from the authorities or a proctor. But for students of Kashmir University it is part of their stay at the campus. The present VC, who was hailed as the reformist of sorts, ‘disappointed’ his well wishers by paving way for army to contribute towards the “infrastructural development” of the varsity. Whatever space students might have earned for themselves to raise their dissenting voice inside the campus over the years has already been eroded. There is no space for them to even talk about things that they see around them on a day-to-day basis. It is strange that a university housed in one of the highly militarized regions of the world disallows its students to even talk about it.
There are universities in India where students openly discuss, debate and criticize state’s policies and protest against mis-governance. Even atrocities done by the state are openly condemned inside these campuses. But here in Kashmir, any genuine voice that comes out of the KU is systematically suppressed by the mighty state.
All is not lost though. Still there is some hope left. But it needs will power from KU administration to stay upright under state’s pressure and uphold students’ interest above all.
But that hope is fast vanishing. The present administration under new VC is proving more state friendly than the previous ones.
With no one left to listen to student’s woes, KU is setting bad example for generations to come.
The way Muzamil was taken away by police from outside the campus and the way KU administration reacted to his arrest has only left a lasting scar on the growing minds of students. They (students) might be asking themselves, if we are not safe inside our educational institutions’, then where!
Is migration only option left for students who want to simply defend their rights. Or for once we see KU’s admin doing something that is student friendly?