A student at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Kashmir’s Srinagar city has been facing threat to his life, after multiple street rallies in Srinagar calling for his beheading over ‘blasphemy’ of Islam.
The student, a Hindu, hails from Maharashtra, and has already been booked by the local police under hate crime laws.
While there has been no crackdown on the rallies chanting beheading slogans against him, the university has reportedly rusticated him for a year. The student has reportedly returned to his hometown.
Swarajya is withholding the student’s identity for his protection.
The incident comes at a time when the country is reeling under growing fanaticism over blasphemy that has resulted in a spate of killings of so-called blasphemers in the past few years, most of them Hindus.
Accusation Against The Student
On Tuesday (28 November), the student shared a story on his Instagram account showing an old video of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a former Hamas chief, making critical comments about Islam and its founder Muhammad. The post generated a buzz at the campus, triggering physical protests.
The Muslim students complained against him to the college management. The registrar of the NIT campus, professor Atiq-u-Rehman, wrote to the police seeking legal action against him.
The Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vidhi Kumar Birdi, told the media that around 4.30pm on Tuesday, the police received information that some students were protesting at the NIT campus in Srinagar. The police found that a student had posted some video on social media, which was not his own post but he had taken it from YouTube.
A first information report (FIR) was filed against the student at Nigeen Police Station under sections 295A (outraging religious feelings),153A (promoting enmity) and 153 (provocation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Srinagar police also posted the development on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “Police has taken cognisance of the incident of uploading of sensitive content against religious sentiments of a particular community by one student of NIT Srinagar. Upon receipt of communication from NIT authorities, case FIR No.156/23 u/s 295A,153A,153 IPC registered.”
Threats Faced By The Student
Several videos have since become viral on social media showing members of Kashmir’s Muslim community chanting the slogan, “Gustakh-e-Nabi ki ek saza, sar tan se juda, sar tan se juda," which translates to, "There is only one punishment for speaking against the Prophet and that is beheading."
Other slogans such as “Allahu Akbar” and “Labaik ya Rasoolallah" were heard at Amar Singh and Islamia Colleges of Srinagar on Wednesday (29 November).
Watch some of these videos below:
Personal posts from the student’s social media accounts are also being circulated with threatening captions. One of the posts, which shows him posing with a Muslim woman student from Kashmir, has gone viral with captions of ‘Bhagwa love trap’.
'Bhagwa love trap' is a conspiracy theory that has been circulating among Muslim groups that Hindu men are targeting Muslim women for relationships in order to make them leave Islam, and such men are especially trained for the purpose by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).
Promoters of this propaganda include prominent clerics, supporters of certain political parties, influencers, journalists and anonymous social media accounts.
Read more about this conspiracy theory here.
The NIT Srinagar administration, in the meanwhile, has suspended all academic activities, exams, and administrative work for an indefinite period.
Recent Violence Related To Blasphemy
In October 2019, Uttar Pradesh resident Kamlesh Tiwari was killed at his office in Lucknow by two Muslim men from Gujarat. Tiwari had made a comment on Islam’s founder in a pamphlet, brought in response to an insulting comment against Hindu men.
The killers later told the investigators they planned to record the killing and send it to a terror outfit.
In 2021, several rallies were taken out in various Indian cities by Muslim groups advocating beheading as mob punishment for a man named Yati Narsinghanand, for making a comment on Islam’s founder at a press conference in New Delhi.
In January 2021, a man named Kishan Boliya was killed by two men named Shabbir and Imitiaz for sharing a social media post construed as being insulting to Islam.
In June 2022, a man named Kanhaiya Lal was killed at his tailoring shop by two Muslim men, who also filmed the act. Kanhaiya had shared a social media post supporting former Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who was already facing beheading threats for a comment on Islam’s founder.
A week later, a man named Umesh Prahladrao Kolhe from Maharahtra’s Amravati district was murdered by two Muslim men, also for blasphemy.
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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