Hyderabad: In a deeply troubling incident at Punjab’s Desh Bhagat University (DBU), hijab-wearing Kashmiri girl students have become the target of violence during protests against the university’s contentious decision to relocate their admissions to a college lacking accreditation from the Indian Nursing Council (INC) and the Punjab Nursing Registration Council (PNRC).
Hijabi Students Speak Out
Ulfat*, a Kashmiri girl student at DBU, shared a harrowing account of how tensions escalated on September 14th at approximately 9 AM when university authorities and the police confronted the protesting students. She revealed that several Kashmiri girl students were arrested by the police on campus, even though the authorities are now denying it. Ulfat* went on to disclose that some students endured lathi charges, leading to anxiety attacks and hospitalizations.
Forcible Removal of Hijabs
In a deeply distressing development, the hijab-wearing students alleged that during the confrontation, their hijabs were forcibly removed from their heads, with some even torn off.
Admissions Transfer Controversy
A report published in The Observer Post The students protested against the university’s decision to transfer around 70 Kashmiri girl students who were pursuing various paramedical courses to Sardar Lal Singh College.
The controversy stems from the college’s lack of recognition from the Indian Nursing Council. Adding to the dispute, the INC had originally allotted only 60 seats to the institution, yet more students were admitted to the course, prompting the transfer demand.
Protests Continue Amid Unaddressed Concerns
The unrest among students, especially the Kashmiri girl students wearing hijabs, has been ongoing since the 2020 batch. They have been protesting the sudden transfer decision for about 15 days but claim that the university authorities have not allowed them to communicate their concerns. This lack of dialogue has left them feeling unheard and neglected.
Videos Go Viral
Videos from the September 14th protest have gone viral on social media platforms, exposing the harsh treatment endured by the hijab-wearing Kashmiri girl students and their fellow protesters. The footage depicts police personnel forcibly dragging female students along the street and physically assaulting male students.
University Responds with Closure
In response to the escalating situation and the outcry against violence targeting hijabi Kashmiri girl students, DBU officials decided to close the university until further notice. An official from the university stated, “The University has been shut till further orders, and anything beyond that cannot be said. The matter has been handed over to the Police and the administration. They are already discussing the matter.”
This deeply concerning incident highlights the urgent need for a resolution that ensures the safety and rights of all students, irrespective of their backgrounds or religious attire. It calls attention to the importance of safeguarding the dignity and security of hijab-wearing Kashmiri girl students and addressing the underlying issues surrounding their admissions transfer.