Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Ordeal Of A Kashmiri Student Activist For Not Getting His Passport Released

Ordeal Of A Kashmiri Student Activist For Not Getting His Passport Released

Kashmiri student activist Nasir Khuehami said due to the ‘denial’ of passport his academic career will suffer, due to which he is feeling ‘mentally depressed’.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah.(File photo) PTI

A student activist from Kashmir has been left “depressed” and “disillusioned” following “denial of passport” to him for “nearly a year now”, due to which his career is at stake now.

Nasir Khuehami, who is the national convener of J&K Students Association, an organisation which has come to the rescue of Kashmiri students in distress within and outside the country said he is feeling humiliated after the authorities have “denied” him a passport.

Khuehami has now written a letter to Union Home minister Amit Shah and sought his intervention on the matter. 

In his plea, Khuehami has said: “…I believe in constitutional norms and democratic principles. I never committed any infraction which can be a ground to deny passport to me under the Passport Act, 1967. Having conviction towards constitution and its ideals can cost one much dear things in a volatile place like Kashmir, so happened with me…”

Khuehami is pursuing Masters in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building from Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi.

Khuehami has been shortlisted for interview of Chevening Fellowship Award, which is scheduled on February 21. However, due to “denial of passport”, Khuehami said he is likely to miss the opportunity.

Last year as well, Khuehami said he missed a chance to pursue higher studies under Fulbright scholarship in foreign university due to “denial of passport” to him.

Khuehami said due to the “denial” of passport his academic career will suffer, due to which he feeling is “mentally depressed”.

For past nearly one year, Khuehami said his plea for passport is being only delayed and he has not been given the reason to why this treatment is meted to him.

“I am being told that I am critical to government. For Godsake, they(government) should make it clear to what wrong have I done?” said Khuehami, adding "the experience has left me in agony and despair”.

Khuehami said he has met around 51 MPs of the country and 17 Chief Ministers of different states as a student leader. 

“I know country's who’s who. I always want to act as a facilitator to help the people on ground. I fail to understand why they are doing this to me. I am non-controversial person,” said Khuehami.

Khuehami also took to social media to express his plight.

From village boy to student activist:

Khuehami hails from non-descript Watapora village in Bandipora’s Aloosa of north Kashmir. 

Khuehami’s father Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat is a businessman. He was earlier associated with Congress and then joined Nizammudin Bhat who used to be with PDP then. In 2015, Bhat quit politics.

The tumult in Kashmir has barely left anyone untouched. In 2006, Khuehami’s sister was fired upon by “unknown gunmen” from a close range. Two bullets went past near her heart, however she survived.

In 2016, Khuehami left his village to pursue Bachelor’s in Journalism from HNB Garhwal Central University Uttarakhand. He also did an internship with The Tribune newspaper, besides writing for some online portals and newspapers. 

Khuehami also appeared on national television as expert on Kashmir. Of late, he is not appearing on these prime time debates.

In 2017 when Kashmiri students faced harassment at the hands of some goons in different parts of the country, Khuehami decided to help his fellow brethren in distress. 

It was at this time he decided to act as a “facilitator” between Kashmiri students in distress and authorities.

It was when he formed the students union for Kashmiri students studying in different parts of the country. In 2018, when Kathua minor rape and murder case took place, Khuehami also helped Kashmiri students and was at the forefront.

A 'ray for hope' for Kashmiri students in distress

When Pulwama suicide attack took place in 2019 followed by attacks on Kashmiri students, again it was Khuehami who came at the forefront to help his Kashmiri brethren. 

It was during his course of study at Garhwal University in Uttarakhand that Khuehami got in touch with Kashmiri students worldwide. Be it Kashmiri students in Bangladesh or Ukraine or UK or US, J&K Students Union brought all Kashmiri students under one umbrella.

The union is registered as a trust in the country, said Khuehami.

Post Pulwama attack in 2019, when there were rampant xenophobic attacks against Kashmiris within the country, over 10,000 Kashmiri students were brought by J&K Students Union with the help of Khalsa Aid safely back home to Kashmir.

Post Article 370 abrogation, when J&K became incommunicado for months together, it was again J&K Students Union that helped Kashmiri students in distress outside Valley. 

“In Punjab where around 25000 Kashmiri students were studying in 2019, I ensured help reached to them. I personally got in touch with the chief minister,” said Khuehami.

In 2020, when Covid-19 pandemic shook the world, again it was J&K Students Union who came to the rescue of Kashmiri students studying outside. 

“Some 30,000 Kashmiri students were brought back to Kashmir. With the help of many MPs and CMs including Ashok Gehlot and Captain Amarinder Singh, we helped them to reach home,” said Khuehami.

It was for this reason perhaps, Khuehami was chosen by China based company Xiaomi among top 10 Covid-19 warriors from India alongside celebrities including Sonu Sood, Veer Das and others.  

During cloudburst in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli, it was Khuehami who made himself available for the rescue mission.

When Taliban swept to power in war-torn Afghanistan, it was Khuehami who raised hue and cry for Kashmiris stuck in the country. It was due to his personal intervention that three Kashmiri doctors working in Afghanistan were traced and brought back to Kashmir.

Ukraine war also created chaos in Kashmir with many Kashmiri students studying in the country. It was again J&K Students Union that helped government with exact details of Kashmiri students and bring them out of the country caught in war with Russia. 

Now, this “knight” from Kashmir’s Bandipora needs an armour to shine himself this time. His hopes pinned on HM Shah.