Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said that his administration has taken up the issue of the well-being of Kashmiri students studying in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) with the Uttar Pradesh government.
The governor’s assertion came a day after three Kashmiri students of AMU were booked on sedition charges for allegedly raising “anti-India” slogans and trying to hold a funeral prayer meeting for Hizbul Mujahideen militant Manan Bashir Wani on October 12.
Wani, a former PhD scholar of AMU who left research to join militancy in Kashmir, was killed in an encounter with security forces in north Kashmir on Thursday.
During an interaction with youth at Sheri Kashmir International Convention Centre, the governor assured that his administration has taken up the concern for well-being of Kashmiri students studying in AMU with their administrative counterparts in Uttar Pradesh, an official spokesman of the J-K government said.
Kashmiri students studying in AMU have written a letter to AMU vice-chancellor denying the charges and threatened to leave the University en masse from October 17 if the sedition charges against the three of them are not dropped.
According to news agency PTI, AMU students union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar has written that “if this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as a last option.”
Terming the slapping of sedition charges as “vendetta”, Rathar has said, “The option of holding Namaaz-e-Janaza (funeral prayer) in absentia was dropped after the AMU authorities did not give the permission.”
The issue has flared up tempers in the Kashmir Valley.
Independent legislator from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, also known as Engineer Rashid, was detained after trying to take a protest march in Srinagar in solidarity with Kashmiri students of AMU.
“They just want to harass the Kashmiri students. I don’t know whether the students have offered prayers of Manan Wani or not. Even if they have, it is not a crime but a religious obligation,” Rashid told HT in the evening after he was let off by police.
Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the sedition charges on Kashmiri students and demanded an end to the harassment of Kashmiri students.
The government spokesman quoting the governor said that to ensure the welfare of students from Jammu and Kashmir studying in other parts of the country, liaison officers will be designated for areas having higher number of students from the state.
These officers will act as a point of contact in these states for the students to get their concerns presented and addressed, he said.
The governor stressed on the importance of youth in the peace process of J-K.
“It is very important that the youth are given momentum in right direction to channelize their creative, intellectual and innovative energies and talents in a productive manner,” Malik was quoted as saying.
Conveying the “commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure free and fair elections” in the state, governor Malik urged students to partake in the democratic process as leaders and as participants to shape the new future for the state.