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Sikh community in Punjab protected Kashmiri students pushed out from other states

SATINDER BAINS | February 23, 2019 02:33 PM
Kashmiri students taking shelter in a Gurdawara in Mohali, Punjab

CHANDIGARH: The people of Punjab particularly the Sikh community has set an example for others in India to follow-highlighting the humanity and secularism while giving protection and extending helping hand to students from Kashmir who were hounded from BJP ruled Uttrakhand and Haryana states after the Pulwama terror attack.

While all sort of support of lodging and boarding was given to about 600 Kashmiri students in Gurdawaras, a US based non-profit organisation Khalsa Aid has provided free transport to these students to reach safely in their home in Kashmir. The gesture of Sikh community was widely appreciated by people in Kashmir and human rights activists all over the globe.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has taken the initiative to provide security to students of Kashmir who are studying in various colleges in Punjab. Punjab government has ensured that no student from Punjab colleges is harassed. The civil administration reached out to students and persuaded them not to go back to Kashmir.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that there were around 4,000 Kashmiri students studying in institutions in Punjab and their safety was ensured. He said that no incident of harassment of Kashmir students or traders was reported here.

Navkiran Singh a human rights activist said that students in BJP ruled states were harassed in a planned manner and forced to leave the colleges in Dehradun in Uttrakhand and Ambala in Haryana. He said that despite advisory from the center government, the two states had not made any effort to prevent the harassment of Kashmir students. He hailed the Supreme Court direction to all states to give full protection to students from Kashmir.

Sikh non-profit organization Khalsa Aid has sent nearly 300 Kashmiri students from various places back to their home state following fear among them in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed. 15 girl students were sent to Srinagar by air at the expenses of Khalsa Aid.

Khalsa Aid volunteers said that the last batch of students from the region were sent on specially arranged vehicles with security till Jammu so that they could travel further ahead to their respective native places. Large number of students from Kashmir Valley had gathered in Mohali town in Punjab and Union Territory of Chandigarh in the past week.

"Most of them were fearing a backlash while some had experienced harassment. At some places, the Kashmiri students were asked to vacate their paying guest (PG) accommodations and had gathered at a Sacha Dhan gurdwara in Mohali,"

Kashmiri students residing in PG accommodations in Mullana village in Haryana's Ambala district were told to leave on February 16. Following this, some of them arrived in Mohali while others took refuge in the Mararishi Markandeshwar (Deemed) University hostels and later rescued  by members of Khalsa Aid.

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