Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 8:59 PM

Evicted Kashmiri student says better to pick up gun than face humiliation

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It is better to pick a gun than face humiliation of being looked at as a threat to the state, says an angry Kashmiri student who with his two friends was forced out of a rented house in Indian Punjab after a police raid for hidden weapons. 

Punjab Police denied the harassment allegation, saying the search operation was a routine exercise.

Tajamul Imran, 25, belongs to south Kashmir district of Shopian. According to media reports, Imran was sobbing when he spoke.

"They asked us to show weapons. I thought the policemen were joking," Imran said, recollecting the three-hour harassment the three Kashmiris were subjected to on Sunday morning at the rented flat in Zirakpur, near Mohali.

He said the policemen then frisked them and searched the house and repeatedly asked where we had hidden the weapons and explosives smuggled from Kashmir.

"The policemen asked if we are Kashmiris and told us 'yahan kuch karne aate ho aur wahan kuch aur karte ho' and then asked us if we had any weapons," Tajamul who recently completed his MBA, was quoted by the Indian Express.

"We felt so harassed that my friends and I thought they will kill us and stage an encounter," said Imran.

"It was 5.40 a.m. and we were sleeping. Two policemen knocked on the door. I saw at least 15 to 16 other policemen who had cordoned off our house."

Imran, who also heads the All Jammu and Kashmir Students Union, said they were almost made to feel like militants.

An obviously angry Imran said: "I think it is better to pick up a gun, because a Kashmiri is always seen as a threat to the state."

Imran, who completed his MBA from Punjab Technical University's Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology in November, was to appear for a placement session in the college.

"But I don't think I can work in any part of India after the incident. We are fearful. I have to return home. My family is not allowing me to stay back."

"We have been living for two years in Punjab. We came to Zirakpur because Mohali was far from our college. All of us gave our identity papers including Aadhaar to the broker for verification," said Imran. "They abused us and it was just short of beating. A police officer even said that whether we had any FIR registered against us in Kashmir. I told them they can verify.''

He said the police asked their landlord to "throw us out" of the house and the house owner did so without wasting any time.

"The police told the landlord that if any incident happened in Zirakpur area, he would be responsible for that as he had rented the house to Kashmiris," Imran said, adding he had shifted to a friend's place after vacating the house.

He said he tried to get in touch with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's Complaint Monitoring Portal but did not get any response from there.

"As a student activist, I have earlier written about many incidents of harassment of Kashmiri students at various places to the Home Ministry's monitoring cell for Kashmiri students, but they never responded," Imran said.

The broker, who helped them get the rented house, however, said that the three left on their own. "Their rent agreement was complete but they had told me they wanted to leave. The police did not tell me anything. They just called to confirm whether I was the broker," Satwinder Pal, the broker, said.

However, a senior officer of the Punjab Police denied that the students were harassed and said the cops were doing "routine checking in the area".

"There was no harassment at all. We did not know they were Kashmiris. We were doing a routine check in the outskirts of the city," Kuldeep Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohali said.

Singh said the police never asked the landlord to throw the students out of their flat and said the students were “creating an issue out of nothing”.

Source: Kashmir Monitor