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Group Of Women Are Living In Hiding After Being Suspended From Their College Over WhatsApp Group Message

Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

As the people of India mourn a national tragedy, four female Kashmiri students are living in fear in after receiving threats for "celebrating" the attack on Indian soldiers.

It was one of the deadliest attacks in Kashmir in the last 30 years. 42 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed on Feb. 14th, when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into the security force's convoy in Kashmir's Pulwama district.

Now as tensions in the state threaten to come to a boil four students accused of sending an "anti-national" message over WhatsApp have been forced into hiding and suspended from NIMS University in Jaipur where they studied pharmacology.

In response to public outrage over the Pulwama attack, the four students allegedly shared an image of three desserts on WhatsApp with the caption "Our reply to the outrage outside, #pulwama attack."

Image via WhatsApp/Buzzfeed News

College authorities then served the four young women with a suspension notice. The notice, which included all four womens' names was later leaked, and news organizations quickly found pictures of all four women on social media.

According to a social worker who spoke with Buzzfeed News, the students were taken to safe house in northern India after they began receiving rape and death threats. They may also face legal charge of sedition for sharing the image.

The women are said to be safe for now but it is unknown when they can return to Kashmir.

The social worker told Buzzfeed:

"Our primary motive is to take them back to Kashmir. But it's made almost impossible because of the fact that their faces and names are all over social media. The girls are afraid that they will be lynched."

For decades, religious and national conflict has been brewing in Kashmir.

The region which is claimed by both India and Pakistan is the only state in India with a majority Muslim population.

Now tensions between the two countries and the Hindu at Muslim populations seem ready to erupt.

After responsibility for the Pulwama attack was claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed protests began, calling for revenge and relation by the state against Pakistan, though Pakistan has claimed no involvement in the attack.

Unfortunately, much of the outrage for the attack may be being directed towards Kashmiri locals, as unconfirmed reports of attacks on Kashmiri businesses and students have followed the Pulwama bombing.

Although some voices are asking that cooler heads prevail in this situation the calls for "patriotism" appear to be much louder.

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