Kashmiri students assaulted by ‘mob’ in Punjab, police say issue resolved

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Late on the evening of 17 January, three Kashmiri studying in a college in Punjab were allegedly assaulted by a group of nearly 25-30 people when they were at their flat in the Kharar area.

The students had reached the Kharar area some 10 days ago the incident took place, to join offline classes.

Sheikh, a student who lives nearly 30 metres away from the apartment where the alleged assault took place, said, “at around 10:00 pm I heard a loud clamour outside and went out to check what was happening to find that a group of 20-30 people had barged into their apartment and were beating three Kashmiri students to pulp. Their gadgets were also damaged”.

The trio who wished not to be identified is pursuing Bachelors in Business Administration at a private University in Mohali Punjab.

Two among the three students live in the Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir while another lives in Baramulla.

Students who witnessed the assault said that the residents of the neighbourhood “had accused the trio of making a loud noise in the apartment that led to the assault”.

“It was due to the timely intervention of the other Kashmiris living in the neighbourhood that the students could be rescued from the violent mob,” they said.

As per students, the ‘mob’ was beating the three students mercilessly while hurling abuses on them for being Kashmiri.

The trio, as per students, was immediately hospitalised as they had received serious injuries. They said they also approached the police station to register a complaint however it was not “immediately entertained by Kharar police”.

Sheikh said that a police complaint was registered only after Kashmiri students took to social media to complain against the assault of students.

“The complaint was registered on the next day at around 11 pm after students posted about the issue on Twitter as police were primarily not responding well to the complaint,” he said.

Given the issue, several people on Tuesday took to Twitter to complain against the assault and asked Punjab Police to take action against the people involved in the assault on Kashmiri students.

The pictures showing deep bruises on the body of the assaulted students went viral on social media thus triggered widespread condemnation and action against the culprits was demanded.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) SAS nagar zone Harjit Singh Barnala told The Kashmir Walla that the issue has been resolved by mutual understanding.

Singh said that the incident had taken place due to a misunderstanding. “The students were playing loud music due to which the incident triggered.”

He said that the issue had nothing to do with the regional identity of the students and said police had been asked to ensure the safety of the students.

“The people accused of attacking the students have apologised and compensated for the damage they had caused,” Singh said.

Sheikh said being students they cannot pursue a case as that will disturb their studies. “We found it right to resolve the case amicably”. He confirmed that the expenses on medicines and damage caused were compensated by the assailants.

Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir students association in a tweet said that they had taken up the issue of assault on Kashmiri students with the office of chief minister of Punjab.

Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of the association on Wednesday said, “besides condemning the incident, the chief minister’s office assured full cooperation and earliest redressal”.

The trio is said to be stable and have been discharged from the hospital.

Singh meanwhile asserted that the people from the other states living in the area are their guests and have no reason to worry.

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