Kashmir to "Shut Down" in Protest Against Attacks on Valley Students Outside
SRINAGAR: Anguished over the "rise in attacks on Kashmiri students" outside the state, the separatist groups in J&K have called for a complete shutdown on April 12.
The strike call was issued by Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik in a press conference here on Saturday. "There will be a complete shutdown on April 12 in protest against the rising number of attacks on Kashmiri students in different colleges and universities across India," Malik said.
The shutdown call has been supported by veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, a leading traders' body of the state.
The strike call comes against the backdrop of warning by the BJP that the tensions at the Srinagar's National Institute of Technology will have consequences on Kashmiri students across the country.
A group of Hindu rightwing activists are also on their way to the NIT to unfurl the national flag at the institute and express solidarity with the outstation students who clashes with J&K police during a protest last week.
At least three incidents of assault on Kashmiri students have been reported from different parts of the country in the last week. At a college in Rajasthan, a group of Kashmiri students were assaulted and their hostel rooms ransacked by suspected rightwing activists after which police registered a case.
"A drama is being staged at NIT to cover up the atrocities unleashed on Kashmiri students in Rajasthan, Jammu, Noida and other places. Out students are being made scapegoats for petty political interests," Malik said.
In a statement, Geelani condemned the "brutal attacks" on Kashmiri students by people having "BJP backing", "The NIT incidents and the way Indian media has been continuously projecting the issue has made the life of our students and business community a hell," he said.
Accusing the "rightwing extremist groups" of forcing Kashmiri students to discontinue their studies, Mirwaiz said such attacks will have "serious consequences" on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
"It is the moral and legal responsibility of the concerned state governments and the government of India to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiri students," Mirwaiz said.