Tribune News Service
Gurugram, August 12
The idea of hosting Eid celebrations here for over 300 Kashmiri students unable to visit home has backfired for a local social group of Kashmiri Pandits, which has been subjected to threats and abuses from many parts of the country.
The event, which had Haryana Waqf Board chairman Hanif Quereshi as chief guest, had a guest list of 217 students till the invitation went viral on social media on Sunday night.
The organisers were ridiculed for being anti-Hindu and anti-national. A majority of universities where the participating students studied issued an unofficial advisory, asking students to abstain from the event to avoid controversy.
“Kashmiris here have a small close-knit group. We help children who come here to study in whatever way possible. We knew that they would not be able to visit the Valley due to the prevailing conditions,” said Ajay Pandita, one of the organisers.
“We decided to hold a small Eid celebration with home-style food. It was supposed to be a simple community party. The card bearing Quereshi’s name reached social media. People from Gujarat and Delhi started threatening and abusing us for being anti-Kashmir and anti-national,” he said.
“We were threatened with dire consequences, but chose to carry on with the celebration as planned. Only 12 students came, with a majority of them keeping off due to the uproar,” he said. Sources said one of the student invitees had uploaded the invitation, saying it was open to all.
This had led to an uproar, with netizens attaching motives to the celebration and issuing threats. Though the invitation was later deleted, the damage had been done. Many universities called their students, advising them to abstain from any such gathering to avoid controversy.
“I came here as I was missing my mother. I was not able to talk to her properly for days. It was not just this event. We were asked to keep celebrations in hostels to the minimum. We were told to go in groups for namaz to avoid trouble with local youths,” said a participant on condition of anonymity.
“Ever since Article 370 has been abrogated, Kashmir has been virtually cut off. We are being looked at with suspicion and expected to be confined to our rooms,”said the participant.
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