Hyderabad: Protests have become almost a routine for Kashmiri students. However, that does not deter the Jammu and Kashmir government from asking them to stay away from protests repeatedly. In a press release, dated December 16, the J&K government requested Kashmiri students studying outside of the Union Territory to “refrain from activities that can disturb peace and harmony”.
While speaking to NewsMeter, Ashwani Kumar — the J&K Liaison Officer for Hyderabad and Chennai — said, “So many issues are going on regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Many students are agitated about this issue, and they are participating in protests. Now, we are just asking Jammu and Kashmir students not to participate in such activities. If anyone is following such activities, we want to help them come back and do their duties peacefully.”
The release further requested Kashmiri students to use social media cautiously and not pay heed to any of the rumours perpetrated on social media. According to the officer, around 3,000 Kashmiri students are studying in Hyderabad alone.
Reacting to the statement, Hadif Nisar, President of Jammu Kashmir Students Association, said, “We are students who are well aware of what is happening in the country. We don’t need governments, be it Jammu and Kashmir or India, to tell us what is right and wrong. We have seen enough in the past where Kashmiris have been mistreated by this government. So, if speaking against the government on social media is what they are afraid of, we will definitely do it, in solidarity with protesting students all over the nation.”
Upon enquiring how this statement becomes relevant in a context concerning Kashmir’ current situation, the Liaison Officer for Hyderabad replied that Jammu and Kashmir is already in a bad situation. “However, the issue here is that we have to control the situation. We have to try to do it by all means,” he added.
Even as Kashmir is staggering post abrogation of Article 370, and protests have become almost routine for the state, the statement issued by J&K government is ironical. It does not speak of protests of Kashmiri people, but issues advisory, asking Kashmiri students to stay away from a nation-wide protest.