A petition has been filed before the National Human Rights Commission over disappearance of a Kashmiri student Ehtisham Bilal following his thrashing at Sharda University in Uttar Pradesh.
The petitioners include lawyer and rights activist Syed Mujtaba and Mirza Jahanzeb Beg.
Quoting reports, the petition says Ehtisham, an 18-year-old boy and a student of radiology, has gone missing on October 28.
"He was beaten up by some local students on October 4 and later went missing," it reads.
The petition says the number of Kashmir students being attacked and harassed in colleges and universities is "rising at an alarming pace."
"There have been various cases of students disappearing from the universities and colleges and it is not known whether they are alive or dead," the petition reads, adding: "The media has created a dangerous image of Kashmir in India which leads to hate crimes against Kashmiri students in Indian universities."
"Also", the petition reads, "the rising intolerance, culture of mob lynching, religious fanaticism, pseudo-nationalism and Islamophobia, have further escalated the situation."
"Moreover, there are reports that universities are being asked by investigation agencies to submit profiles of Kashmiri students which has further isolated them. It is very unfair. This gives an impression that goons, communal forces and agencies are on the same page regarding their opinion about Kashmiri students," the petitioners have told the rights body.
"We are concerned about safety of Kashmiri students and urge the government to form a committee to address the grievances of Kashmiri students and trace the missing students, ensure their security and order strict action against the culprits involved in any kind of harassment or hate crime against these students," the petition says, demanding that the union ministries of home affairs and human resource development must ensure safety of Kashmiri students studying in different states of India.
"Inquiry should be initiated in case there is any negligence from the side of investigating authorities or management of the concerned universities," the petitioners have told the NHRC.
'NO CLUE YET'
We have no clue about the missing Kashmiri student Ehtisham Bilal but we are "seriously" probing his disappearance, the director general of J&K police Dilbag Singh said on Thursday.
Ehtisham has been missing since October 28, even as a video of his "assault" within the campus had gone viral on social media.
On Tuesday, a complaint was registered at Greater Noida's Knowledge Park police station regarding the disappearance of Ehtisham, a first-year student of Medical Imaging Technology at the university.
According to station house officer of the police station, Arvind Pathak, the complaint was filed by Bilal's cousin following which the surveillance personnel attempted to trace his phone location.
"Through the tracking mechanism, we found that he was still in Delhi till Sunday noon, but at 2.30 pm his location changed to Srinagar. We found that he called up his father at 4.30 pm and told him that he was in Delhi. The phone has been switched off and untraceable after that," Pathak had said.
According to Aabid Hussain, Bilal's friend and a fellow student at Sharda University, he didn't divulge with him any plans of going to Kashmir.
"He didn't tell us anything before leaving the university on Sunday morning. Later we found that he had told his parents that he was going to Delhi for a visit. In the evening, too, he called his father and said he's returning to the university. He also called his cousin who studies at Sharda, and told him that he would return to the hostel by 8.30 pm. But afterwards, our attempts to call him failed as we couldn't reach him," he said.
On October 4, purported videos showing a group of people beating up Bilal went viral amidst simmering tensions following a scuffle between Afghan and Indian students within the university. After this, the district magistrate had invoked the NSA against a man who allegedly inflamed the situation by giving a communal colour to the fight.
"We are investigating his disappearance," the J&K police chief said, adding: "After his phone went in a switched off mode, there is no clue about him. Soon things will be clear.
The DGP did not rule out Ahtisham's return to the Valley.