A section of the Indian student community in the US has strongly objected to the University of California San Diego’s attempt to identify the Jammu and Kashmir issue as a “freedom struggle”.

Indian students at the UCSD protested against a webinar titled “Global Freedom Struggles from Kashmir to Palestine" that was organised by the university’s Institute of Arts and Humanities.

The webinar was planned on May 9 to discuss “colonial occupation" in Kashmir. Indian students took serious objection to the event and protested peacefully against the narrative it attempted to create.

During their protest, the students highlighted the fact that J&K is a terrorism-hit region where India has been dealing with Pakistan’s covert tactics to disrupt peace for decades.

“This is an internal matter of the country. The university should not become official host to such events where speakers who have a separatist agenda are being hosted," a student who participated in the protest said.

A formal letter of protest was submitted to the International Students and Programs Office at UCSD. This was followed by a signature campaign endorsed by Indian students on campus. The students demanded the exclusion of the Kashmir issue and the concerned speaker from the webinar.

A formal complaint was also registered with the Indian Embassy in the US. The protest was supported by the International Student Association at UCSD, and culminated with a physical protest outside the Department of Arts and Humanities.

“The University did not take Indian voices into consideration before hosting or amplifying this webinar. The invited speaker has a proven track record of supporting separatist and terrorist voices. By providing a platform to such a speaker, the organizers are spreading a fake narrative that makes life difficult for Indian students and spreads hate against us and our country. We took strong objection to this, and raised our voice in the best possible way while respecting the rules and regulations of the university," another student said.

The protest was acknowledged by the International Office as well as the department, with the webinar event now getting delisted from the international events calendar of the University, said one of the Indian students who took part in the protest.

“We welcome the delisting of the event from the international events calendar. The International Students and Programs Office should not endorse such events. Kashmir is an integral part of India, and freedom of speech should not equate freedom to spread false narratives about foreign countries through speakers with predetermined agendas. We will continue to raise our voice in the future against any such attempts," stated the student.