Karnataka colleges are being asked to profile Kashmiri students. But on paper, state denies

A senior official in Karnataka’s Internal Security Division confirmed to TNM that students’ details have been collected for years.
Students wearing mask walking out
Students wearing mask walking out

The Karnataka police is asking colleges in the state to profile Kashmiri students and submit their personal details to the police, including students’ names, phone numbers, their present and permanent addresses. The details have been demanded by the Internal Security Division (ISD) of Karnataka police since the beginning of February 2022, according to a highly placed source in the police force. While on record, police officials have denied that they are profiling Kashmiri students, several sources have confirmed to TNM that this has been the practice for many years now. One such order by the Karnataka police to a college, accessed by TNM, said, “We are requesting you to provide us the information and details of the students hailing from Jammu & Kashmir pursuing their education in your institution.”

Several students from Jammu and Kashmir who TNM spoke to have confirmed that their colleges have asked them to fill forms with their personal details, for the police. One student studying in a private college in Bengaluru’s Yelahanka said that on February 3, he was told by the college administration to fill an online form. He said, “The last time we Kashmiri students were singled out was after the Pulwama attack in 2019. We were then made to go to the local police station and give our details.”

Another student from Kashmir studying in Bengaluru said, “The details sought included current address, permanent address, email address and mobile number, along with details of our course. This was sought only from students from Kashmir, not any other state. There are around 30 students in this college from Kashmir and we were all asked to give these details in the first week of February.” He added the police used to do this routinely till 2019 and they stopped only after the pandemic started. “They had taken my details similarly in 2018 too,” he said.

State police chief Praveen Sood IPS, speaking to Times of India, had denied that such an order was issued, and even said that it was wrong for police officers to seek such information. However, a senior IPS officer who was associated with the ISD confirmed to TNM that the details of Kashmiri students have been collected for years now, for “national security”. "It is to keep the country safe. There are thousands of students who go on with studies, but there may be that one person who wants to create trouble," he said, justifying the exercise. 

An inspector of ISD posted in Ramanagara district, too, confirmed the development and said that this has been done in the past as well. “This is a routine exercise to update information on students studying in the state from Jammu and Kashmir, along with those from foreign countries. This is not related to the hijab issue. A few days back there was a drug bust in rural Bengaluru and one of the accused in the case was Kashmiri. Following this, we have been asked to collect and update the details,” the inspector said. 

Adil Khan (name changed), who studied in a Bengaluru college from 2016 to 2019 said his details were collected by the college for the police in 2019. He was studying mechanical engineering and was in his final year then. He is currently working with a multinational company in Bengaluru. "We Kashmiris are used to this now. The establishment uses some reason or the other to keep tabs on us," he said.

Incidentally, when the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association, a pan-India student network, reached out to the state government and the police, they too were told that there was no such order.  Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant and Higher Education Minister Dr Ashwanth Naryan denied passing such an order for collecting details from Kashmiri students and said only details of international students were sought. 

Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson for J&K Students Association, said that this recent development has led to fear among Kashmiri students in the state. 

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