Several outstation students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar held a protest march at Jantar Mantar in the capital to demand that their institute be shifted outside Srinagar.
“We want the HRD ministry to pay attention to our demand of shifting the campus out of Srinagar and accountability to be fixed for the police action on students,” a protesting student said.
On Tuesday about 300 NIT students protested in Jammu. They carried banners and placards and marched towards the Press Club of Jammu, blocking several roads. Students of Jammu University also joined the NIT students in their protest. The protesting students demand complete security for non-Kashmiri NIT students and withdrawal of all cases against them. They also demand punishment for the cops who indulged in lathi-charge.
“We were kept hostage in NIT by the authorities and police and not allowed to move out…somehow managed to escape from the NIT and reached here”, a protesting student said in Jammu.
The students claimed they reached Jammu on Tuesday night and were camping at the Khalsa College ground.
The students’ march also got support from Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP).
In Katra too, students held a protest march in the town in support of the NIT students. demanding withdrawal of cases and security to the students and.
It’s been two weeks since tension gripped the NIT campus in Srinagar. Trouble began after India lost to West Indies in the T-20 cricket semi-final on March 31. Some local students cheered India’s loss and burst crackers to celebrate. This led to a protest by outstation students resulting in clashes.
Last week, over 55 outstation students left the NIT Srinagar campus because of the volatile situation. A team of HRD ministry too agreed to let the non-local students go and allowed them to write their exams at a later stage.
The Union HRD ministry team, camping in the NIT soon after the incident, had assured the students of all possible assistance in case they wanted to leave for home.
Earlier last week, the Union HRD ministry had also rejected the demands to shift the campus out of Kashmir. The demands were made by a section of outstation students before the panel of central team rushed to the location by the Union ministry.
Yesterday, J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who was in Delhi to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also reiterated her stand on the students’ demand.
“Let me make it clear that it is an issue within the institute and please do not give it a colour of local versus outsiders. The Human Resources Development Ministry is looking into the grievances of the outstation students and I am hopeful that it will be resolved soon….As far as demands of some students to shift the NIT campus out of Srinagar is considered, let me make it clear that it won’t be possible,” the CM said.
(With inputs from PTI)