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Students pan ‘profiling’ of Kashmiris at Punjab varsity

Panjab University’s Campus Students’ Council and students’ union have panned the university’s move to collect details on students from Kashmir as “discriminatory” and demanded that the decision be rescinded.

In a recent e-mail sent to the heads of departments, the varsity’s Dean of University Instruction sought information about all the Kashmiri students enrolled with them. “You are requested to provide information on Kashmiri students admitted to your department, centre, institute to the office of the undersigned latest by October 11, till 4 p.m., positively in the given format [hard copy] or through e-mail,” the e-mail stated, according to a recipient who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The information sought included the candidate’s name, his/her father’s name, class, address and contact number.

“This decision is clearly ‘discriminatory’, which attempts to distinguish between students on the basis of region or place of birth,” said Vipul Atray, joint secretary, Panjab University Campus Students’ Council. “We will take up the issue with the Vice-Chancellor and ask him to rescind it.”

Recent arrests

The university’s move comes following a recent operation of the Punjab Police and the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police during which three Kashmiri youth studying at a private college in Jalandhar were arrested for alleged links with Kashmir-based terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.

The National Students’ Union of India also criticised the move. “It is not only discriminatory but also unconstitutional as no Indian resident can be treated in this manner depending upon his or her place of birth,” NSUI’s national coordinator Manoj Lubana said.

Dean of Student Welfare Emanual Nahar, however, said there was no attempt to discriminate on the basis of region or religion. “There is no question of community profiling of students. It’s a routine matter to update students’ information. There’s no need to panic,” he said.

The Punjab police have also started collecting information about students from other States studying in educational institutes in Punjab. Jalandhar’s Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said no discriminatory profiling was being done against anyone and that the police maintained data of all students and periodically updated the same.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh told journalists: “If there’s any information with the police about someone being involved with militant outfits or elements in Kashmir, only then will such a person be investigated.”

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