Published: 06th August 2019
Article 370: SFI starts helpline for Kashmiri students
The SFI Delhi State Committee has started a helpline to provide shelter to Kashmiri students under threat
August 5 is a date that no Kashmiri would ever want to forget. The day when the 69-year-old Article 370, that allowed a special status to the state was abrogated. While many viewed this is as a glorious move by the current BJP government and the Home Minister Amit Shah, unfortunately, not many are in a position to celebrate. This includes Kashmiri students in different parts of the country, who do not have any means to contact their families or to travel home. Some are even allegedly threatened by extreme forces.
In this scenario, the Delhi unit of the Students' Federation of India has started a helpline to support students who are facing threats or are in need of shelter. The helpline began its operation on Monday after a Kashmiri student from a Delhi University college was allegedly harassed by an ABVP member. "A friend of ours was threatened by an ABVP guy four days back," says Anil Sethumadhavan, an SFI member. "He was too petrified to talk. His cousin informed us about this. Similar incidents are happening in other colleges too. This prompted us to start this helpline," he says.
Anil observes that since the blackout began in Kashmir, most Kashmiri students have stopped attending classes. "They're in fear and stress because they aren't able to contact their families," he says. "The SFI members are visiting all the Kashmiri students that we know personally and are making sure that they get all the help that they need," he adds.
Utkarsh, an SFI State Secretariat member notes that the ABVP and the DUSU were bursting crackers and distributing sweets in the campus on August 5. "This is creating panic among the students. They are already under so much stress," he says. He also says that during the Pulwama incident in February too, the SFI provided shelter to a lot of Kashmiri students.
ABVP and DUSU, on the other hand, denied all the allegations. "Kashmiris are our brothers and we are trying our best to make sure that they're safe. We are only against the people who support separatists and terrorists. In case any Kashmiri student faces any sort of threat, they're always free to contact DUSU," says Pushkar Khurb, an ABVP member.
Mayukh Biswas, National General Secretary, SFI lauded the Delhi state committee for the initiative. "We are trying to make sure that we open similar helplines in other states too soon," he says.
(This copy is updated with the ABVP member's response)