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Gujarati daily apologises for calling student a spy

When Adil Hussain, a Ph.D. scholar at KSKV Kachchh (Kutch) University, was pursuing geological research in the hilly climes of Kashmir, little did he know that he would be labelled a “spy” in a local daily.

Mr. Hussain of Kashmir Shopian district was distraught when he found that Sandesh , in an “exclusive” report on December 13, depicted him as being of dubious character, and claimed that he conducted reconnaissance along the Kutch border.

“Did a Kashmiri youth go to check the Kutch border in the guise of doing a Ph.D.?,” the report’s headline screamed. Terming his place of residence “a district of terrorists,” the news story questioned Mr. Hussain’s intentions behind studying in Kutch.

“I am a registered student at the University. I had gone to do geological research in Kashmir and the Himalayas with a due authority letter from my guide. I left the institution on September 17 and returned on December 16. As it is, during the flash floods in Kashmir, I was not able to contact my family. I reached home on September 21 and from there proceeded for my research. When I heard about the news report, I was shocked, and my mother could not utter a word. She told me to forget about the degree and return home. The paper has defamed me in society,” 26-year-old Mr. Hussain told The Hindu .

Consequence

Following the story, many of his classmates distanced themselves from him. “This report has maligned my reputation. Am I being discriminated against for being a Kashmiri? I don’t know. I am not able to understand this. Don’t I have the right to study in any part of India?,” he asked.

Prof. MG Thakkar, Head of the Department and Dean, Faculty of Science, who is Mr. Hussain’s research guide, rubbished the report.

“He is a bright and genuine person. He usually travels for his research. All this is because of local personal vendetta against me,” Mr. Thakkar told The Hindu .

Following a stir, the newspaper apologised for the story. “They said it was done by a junior reporter and admitted their mistake. Mr. Hussain has a clean record,” BS Patel, Incharge Vice Chancellor of the University, told The Hindu .


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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 12:32:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarati-daily-apologises-for-calling-student-a-spy/article6739957.ece