Chandigarh: Two groups of students allegedly clashed Sunday night at Bhai Gurdas College of Engineering & Technology in Sangrur, Punjab, after one side was accused of “celebrating” Pakistan’s win in the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup match against India.
The incident took place in the college hostel after midnight. Four hostel blocks on the campus house students from Punjab as well as those from other regions, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir.
Reports of the alleged clash initially went viral with the claim that Kashmiri students in Punjab were attacked after India’s loss in the match. Videos shared on social media showed injured students and a room that had allegedly been ransacked.
Not done. Request @Sukhjinder_INC to take action and also swapan sharma ji ssp sangrur must send a strong message whosever tries to disturb peace in punjab @DGPPunjabPolice .
9779911110 is the number of ssp ,anyone in any need should contact and not be afraid of these miscreants. https://t.co/gUom17IMZK
— Punjab Youth Congress (@IYCPunjab) October 24, 2021
Pictures from Punjab where students from Bihar barged in their (Kashmiri Students) rooms, harassed, thrashd them & beat up a few others after Ind Vs Pak cricket Match. Extremely distressing.@MuzamilJALEEL @NandyAsmita @AdityaMenon22 @ghazalimohammad @ZafarAafaq @AakashHassan pic.twitter.com/oNYPP96zWJ
— Nasir Khuehami (ناصر کہویہامی) (@NasirKhuehami) October 24, 2021
However, talking to ThePrint, college director Tanuja Srivastava said it was a “clash”.
Students of the college, she said, gathered in their rooms with friends Sunday evening to watch the match on their laptops.
“After the match finished and Pakistan won, some students from UP and Bihar heard students from Kashmir, gathered in another room in the corridor, cheer in happiness,” Srivastava claimed.
“They confronted them, objecting to the cheering, which then led to the clash inside that room. On hearing the commotion, students from other rooms came out and then the groups went out of the building and had a scuffle there as well. Our guards tried to stop both the groups, but the students did not listen,” she added.
According to Srivastava, other staff members reached the campus “and controlled the students”, and the situation returned to normal after about 45 minutes.
Sangrur’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Swapan Sharma said he met the staff and the students. “Both groups have apologised to one another and the matter is resolved,” he said.
Senior police sources claimed the Kashmiri students were cheering “every time a wicket fell” — Pakistan did not lose any wicket in the match — and came out into the corridor to burst crackers after the match.
However, Srivastava did not confirm this. “It is true that a group of students was cheering for Pakistan. Both groups of students had procured crackers for after the match. But I am not sure if crackers were burst,” she claimed.
What videos showed
Videos from Bhai Gurdas College of Engineering & Technology on social media purportedly showed Kashmiri students claiming they had been attacked after the match by students from UP and Bihar as India had lost the match.
The videos — one of which featured a Kashmiri student saying “we are also Indians” — soon went viral, eliciting sharp reactions.
A 30-minute alleged recording of a Facebook Live conducted immediately after the incident can be found on a Facebook page called ‘Insta Kashmir’.
The video, made by a youth who claimed to be a student of the college, appears to show Kashmiri students wielding sticks, tubelights, tubelight rods, iron rods, and cricket bats in the hostel corridor, shouting “Kashmir” and “we want justice”.
When one student shouts “Hum Pakistan se aaye hain (we have come from Pakistan)”, he is asked by other students not to raise slogans in favour of Pakistan.
These students are seen arguing with the guards, complaining that the latter didn’t step in to save them, and informing some staff members about the ransacked room, also showing them the injuries allegedly sustained by at least two students. A student is heard saying it was “just because we supported Pakistan”.
Srivastava said no one was seriously injured in the clash. “The students are young and they are very regretful that they lost control. They have apologised and have promised the management that there will be no bad blood in the future. They are issuing placatory statements as well,” she said.
There were reports on social media about a similar incident having taken place at the Rayat-Bahra University in Kharar, Mohali. However, Dr Parvinder Singh, the vice-chancellor, said no such incident had taken place at his university campus or in any college.
“I did receive some calls from policemen that they had read about it on social media, but nothing of this sort has happened. If any news to this effect is doing the rounds, let me make it clear… it is fake news,” he said.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)