Kashmir Scholar Returns to Valley after Hate Messages at BITS, Pilani

Ominous Messages: On Sofi's clothes

A day after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for ensuring the safety of Kashmiris students across India, a Kashmiri studying at the reputed Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani (Rajasthan) received threats to his life, as soon as he woke up this morning. Hashim Sofi, a research fellow at Department of Science and Technology, Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) staying at Malviya Bhavan hostel found threats written on the door of his room and on his clothes as well.

“As I woke up early morning last day, I couldn’t believe my eyes for what was written on the face of my door at Maliya Bhavan Hostel BITS Pilani. To add to the surprise, I later on found my clothes have also been pasted with some heartbreaking quotes. I wonder why such animosity for the Kashmiris,” Sofi wrote in a Facebook post.

Sofi is now thinking of giving up studying at Pilani. 

"A group of people were standing outside. I had an argument with them and asked them why they were doing it secretly rather than saying it to my face," the Bandipore boy, who had joined the institute 20 days ago, told The Telegraph.

He said he had informed his guide Anirudh Roy, who was deeply hurt by the development.

Hashim alleged that sometime later, he found racially insulting messages scrawled on his clothes that he had hung out to dry.

"I complained to the chief warden, after which I was allotted a room in the staff quarters and assured that action would be taken against the culprits," he said.

But his frightened family asked him to return. "I took my guide's permission and returned (to the Valley on Saturday)."

The institute said Hashim left without telling anyone.

"My career demands that I go back but my conscience does not allow me to…. I think I will not return to that place again," Sofi has told the media.

Hashim's is the second complaint of harassment in Rajasthan in a week, after a group of Kashmiris studying at Mewar University were allegedly called terrorists and beaten up at a market in Chittorgarh.

Billboards declaring Kashmiris as stone-throwers and asking them to leave have surfaced in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

Giridhar M. Kunkur, chief of publications and media relations at the Pilani institute, acknowledged in an email to The Telegraph that "objectionable comments" had indeed been scrawled on Hashim's door.

He, however, added that no such complaint had "till date" come from "any other scholar or student from Jammu and Kashmir" at the institute.

Kunkur said the institute had been admitting students from Jammu and Kashmir at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels for a long time and had a "good number" of them on the campus currently.

With inputs from Kashmir Reader




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