Meerut anti-India Episode
Prof Hari Om
On March 2, some 67 Kashmiri students of Meerut-based Swami Vivekanand Subharti University’s Madan Dhingra Hostel not only celebrated Pakistan’s victory over India in Asia Cup, but they even shouted pro-Pakistan slogans. It was also reported that were all night celebrations. Their pro-Pakistan act created a volcanic situation on the campus of this private University. Vice Chancellor Manzoor Ahmad and the University authorities took this action after “preliminary investigations” to save the situation and suspended 67 students and asked to vacate the hostel. The University Registrar filed a complaint with the Meerut Police against some unnamed Kashmiri students, who were booked under section 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 427 (mischief) of IPC.
Some students complained that a few students reportedly shouted Pakistan zindabad but a three-tier inquiry finally recommended all 67 Kashmiri students residing in Madan Dhingra Hostel. It deserves kudos for his rational and National stand.
National Conference working president and Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the main Opposition People’s Democratic Party, many Kashmir-based legislators and all the Valley-based separatist outfits, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s Tehrik-e-Hurriyat and Yasin Malik’s JKLF, and almost all the Srinagar-based so-called civil society groups condemned the University authorities with one voice.
The pro-self-rule patron of People’s Democratic Party and former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed approached Prime Minister and asked him to intervene in what he termed as a serious matter. Mufti asked to get the cases revoked against the Kashmiri students, who were expelled from the University on flimsy charges of cheering for Pakistan cricket team during India-Pakistan match in the ongoing Asia Cup series. This arbitrary and unjustifiable action can make every Kashmiri especially student community suspect across the country. The entire Kashmiri student community can become vulnerable and their sense of insecurity will increase. Cheering for any sports team is normal expression of sportsman spirit and it should not be criminalised.
The top Congress leaders – the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and JKPCC president Saif-ud-Din Soz also did not lag behind. Azad called it a very sensitive issue and there is peace in the State after a very long time also caution should have been taken. Saif-ud-Din Soz added slapping of sedition charges against Kashmiri students by the UP Government was an extreme step and cannot be supported. Sedition charge is an extreme step and that is not the right thing to do. University authorities have not worked well on this issue. Dialogue is best way to resolve the issue. I also want to sit with those children (to understand their psychology). As Far as the sedition charges are concern this extreme step and that is not the right thing to do. The Kashmiri separatists went several steps further, condemned the Indian state and demanded independence.
The Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured Ministry is closely monitoring the developments in Meerut and the officials were in touch with the state administration. The UP Government obliged the UPA Government and Omar Abdullah by dropping the charge of sedition against the Kashmiri students. Pakistani intervention in the matter and the reaction of the rabidly anti-India Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-Tayyeba chief Hafiz Saeed must have also played an important role. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at her weekly Press briefing in Islamabad that for cheering a team in a cricket match? If this is sedition, it is very unfortunate.
As for Hafiz Saeed, he appeared on TV channels, criticised India for the sedition charges against the Kashmiri students and praised the Pakistan Foreign Ministry for its stand on the issue. He offered scholarships for these expelled students wherever in the world they want to study; Pakistani nation is proud of them. He tweeted; the Indian mindset against Kashmiris is exposed yet again by this sad incident. The immense love for Pakistan by Kashmiris is very clear too. The expulsion of Kashmiri students from a university and slapping of sedition charges for supporting Pakistan in Cricket explains how democratic’ India is.
What does all this show? It shows that the Congress-led UPA Government has converted the Indian state into a ‘banana republic’. The BJP and its PM nominee Narendra Modi are absolutely right when they urge the Indians to help them have Congress-free India. It is hope that the nation will swing solidly behind the BJP and decimate the Congress and outfits like the Samajwadi Party, the National Conference, the People’s Democratic Party and the Aam Aadmi Party. They, and not Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists, pose a live challenge to the unity and territorial integrity of India and the country’s delicate socio-religious and political equilibrium.
(The writer is a former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu)