Declaration of student from Kashmir included in lawsuit

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NEW YORK – Out of the eight sworn declarations from students at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, submitted to the Massachusetts District Court Monday as part of a lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, one was from a student from Kashmir.

Though the government agreed on Tuesday to rescind the policy change, the stories of the students who submitted declarations — four of whom were from Harvard — reveal how much was at stake. They represent just a fraction of the nearly 4,000 F-1 visa holders who study at the University, reported the Harvard Crimson.

“Student 3 is a rising second-year student at Harvard Law School from India-Administered Kashmir. They left to study abroad at age 15, when “violent civil unrest broke out” in the area,” the narrative submitted said.

The student was unable to communicate with their parents for nearly half of a year when the Indian government cut off the region’s access to internet and telecom services in August 2019, according to their declaration.

“If I return to my parents’ home in Kashmir, I will not have consistent access to Internet that can support high-quality video conference calls,” Student 3 wrote. “Although the Indian government restored limited access to 2G networks in January, 2G Internet handles video streaming very poorly.”

“Considering the continuing civil unrest, the Indian government, which directly administers Kashmir as a Union territory, could easily again cut off all Internet access to the region,” they wrote.

Student 3 added that there is a nine-and-a-half-hour time zone difference between Cambridge and Kashmir. Their ability to maintain a schedule synchronized with the Law School would be further complicated by the Indian government’s continued lockdown order, they wrote, reported the Crimson.

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