J&K students in AMU to boycott Bakrid feast to protest scrapping of special status

Abha Gupta. Dated: 8/11/2019 7:40:25 PM

Invite is a political move to project to the world that the Kashmiris are happy, the students say.

Students of Jammu and Kashmir enrolled at the Aligarh Muslim University have decided to boycott the feast organized for them on Bakrid as a mark of protest against the clampdown back home and the abrogation of the special rights of J&K.

The lunch invite for August 12 was “aimed at rubbing salt into our wounds,” and accepting it would be “an insult to the courage of our parents who are surviving the massive militarisation and absolute clampdown in J&K,” the students said in a collective statement.

On the occasion of Bakrid, the Central varsity’s vice-chancellor on the call of the Union government is to host the feast for the students since they were unable to go back home due to the prevailing situation and shutdown of communication. The invites were sent after J&K Governor Satyapal Malik had sanctioned ₹1 lakh each to the designated liaisoning officers for organising the Id festivities for students from J&K studying in other states.

However, the students termed the invite as an “attempt to mislead the international community and people in India about the ground situation in Kashmir”.

In a statement issued on social media, the students said Governor Malik had “no sympathies for us and the sanction of ₹1 lakh and an Id invitation is to buy our consent for the undemocratic means adopted by the Indian government”.

Condemning the clampdown, the students said “there is an emergency situation” and they had no means of communicating with their parents back home. “We have been rendered to the dark ages in the 21st century. There is an eminent threat of demographic change in the designs of Delhi to rob us of our culture, history and religion,” they said.

Shafat Maqbool, a Ph.D. student from Baramulla, said in his five years at the varsity, the institution had never before organised any exclusive lunch or dinner for them.

The decision to boycott it was taken after consultation among the students, he said.

Terming it a “political move”, Mr. Maqbool told The Hindu that he feared the lunch would be used to project to the world that the “Kashmiris are happy” with the revocation of their special rights and downsizing of the State.

“They will project to the world that they [Kashmiris] are happy and things are normal, as though nothing happened,” said Mr. Maqbool, who has not been able to get in touch with his family for a week due to the communication shutdown. The students wanted to “collectively mourn” their sense of “betrayal and injustice”, he said.

Shafey Kidwai, AMU spokesperson, acknowledged that an exclusive feast was being organised for the students of J&K but said he had no information of any boycott.

“We have not received anything. People are free to express their views on social media. Officially, they have not conveyed anything,” he said.

Around 1,000-1,100 students from J&K are studying in the AMU but only around 270 are currently on the campus, said Mr. Kidwai.

 

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