Heckled At Remembrance Event For Kashmiri Pandits, Hindu College Student Breaks Into Tears
A third-year Hindu college student, Deepika Sharma, organised the 30th-anniversary remembrance event of the Kashmiri pandits exodus.
At a time when students are leading protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), a shocking video of a Hindu college student reciting Kashmiri Pandit's letters, is doing rounds on social media.
In the video, Deepika Sharma, a third-year student of the Hindu college, is seen reading letters of Kashmiri Pandits while the crowd behind her is sloganeering.
She had organised a remembrance event for the Kashmiri pandits exodus on January 20, 2020, as the year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the exodus. Since the college was closed on Sunday, January 19, she decided to schedule the event on the next day at the New Academic Block in the campus where students usually gather.
Deepika told The Logical Indian that she, along with with a fellow student, prepared posters and circulated them on college WhatsApp groups and social media on January 19.
However, a protest against the CAA, NRC and NPR was already scheduled for the same day, at the same venue.
"The exodus of Kashmiri pandits is always under talked in university spaces or in general. People talk about many things, they are willing to take steps for other things, but nothing for the Kashmiri pandits exodus," said Deepika.
"When I decided to host an event for remembrance for the Kashmiri pandits, I knew that I would have to fight the odds."
Deepika said that many students were fearful of attending the event as they did not want to be isolated and being labelled as 'Sanghi' or 'Bhakt.'
"Many said they supported the event in principle but could not show it publicly for fear of harassment. I knew this, but I had decided that even if five students turn up, I will go ahead with the plan."
Akriti Raina, the recent alumnus of the college, wrote an open letter about the tragedy and offered it to Sharma to read it aloud at the remembrance event.
Deepika further told that she began to receive calls, on Sunday, to either cancel or reschedule the event.
"They began to put pressure on me, saying I should postpone it to some other day, but I was adamant that I had to do it on 20. I, of course, preferred 19, but that wasn't possible," said Deepika.
The anti-CAA group had scheduled their event at 11 am, and thus, Deepika scheduled the remembrance event at 10:30 am.
But when she entered college at 10 am, she was not welcomed by the Left-wing protesters already present at the venue.
"I saw a group of around 50 protesters, belonging to the Left-wing. They started taunting me and followed me to the venue."
"They were holding a lot of placards. They were written in Urdu, and I could not decipher what the placards read," said Deepika.
Deepika further told that a few faculty members approached her and requested her to cancel her talk to avoid a "clash," but she refused.
"I stood my ground and insisted that the faculty should not only let me go ahead but also encourage me. I argued that it's always people like us who are made to shut up where Leftist students always have their way."
Deepika insisted that this was a peaceful gathering and that the purpose of the remembrance event was not to raise any slogans. She then started reading out Akriti's letter.
However, as she started reading out the letter, a crowd began to raise slogans to interrupt the event.
"They began shouting 'Islamophobia Islamophobia,' 'Savitri zinda hai zinda hai' and 'Periyar zinda hai zinda hai.' They were bullying and heckling. They wanted to shut us up," told Deepika.
This led Deepika to break into tears, but she bravely continued to read out the letter.
"Yes, I broke down. It was because of both the emotional letter I was reading and the sheer hostility I was being subjected to. I am, however, proud of what I did," said Deepika.