The situation in National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar remains fragile as several non-local students continue to boycott their classes and pitching a demand to shift the campus out of Kashmir. The campus has been witnessing tension for the last two days after a clash between outstation students and the police, which led to the lathicharge leaving some students injured. The state government has now announced a probe into the whole episode.
It all began last week after a brawl between two groups of students following India’s exit from the T20 cricket World Cup. With some non-local students going on protest and demanding to leave the campus, the situation snowballed on Tuesday after the police lathicharge.
Meeting the two-member central team, rushed by the Union HRD ministry on Wednesday, the students came up with a litany of demands, including shifting the institute out of Kashmir and action against the policemen involved in lathicharge.
“Our first demand is that the NIT be shifted from here. We want to go home first and we will go wherever you shift us,” the students sought.
“What J&K police has done, you have seen the videos. We want strict action be taken against them including the DySP Sajad. We also demand the DySP change his statement in which he has said that students hurled stones at police,” added a student, who was speaking on behalf of the rest.
The students also demanded that the national flag too must be returned to them which they alleged was taken away by the cops after last week’s scuffle.
The team comprising Sanjeev Sharma, Director (Technical Education) HRD ministry, Deputy Director Finance Fazal Mehmood and Chairman of Board of Governors of NIT M J Zarabi had met the students on Tuesday amid heightened security at the institute. Two companies of CRPF is deployed at the NIT campus since Wednesday to instil a sense of security among students.
Continuing with their demands, the outstation students also sought the resignation of some of the staff members of NIT, fearing discrimination.
The NIT administration, however, was quick to dismiss the apprehension of any discrimination with any non-local students.
With the issue snowballing and taking serious proportions, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti seeking assurance on the safety of the students. The issue is also emerging as a a first serious test for Ms Mufti after she took over Chief Minister on Monday.
“My officers are in touch with the agitating students and their family members. One or two students said they wanted to go back home for which my ministry is making arrangements,” Union HRD minister Smriti Irani said adding Mehbooba Mufti has assured her that “no injustice will be done”.
Meanwhile in Jammu, state’s Education Minister Naeem Akhtar too assured that outstation students are “like our own children” and proper security arrangements will be made for them,” adding that a senior police officer of the rank of the SP himself is camping there to oversee security measures.