A DAY after classes resumed at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT), trouble erupted on campus again Tuesday as protesting students tried to leave the campus, leading to a confrontation with the police. Last week, the campus had witnessed clashes between local and outstation students after India’s defeat in the World T20 semifinal. The unrest had forced authorities to suspend classes.
On Tuesday evening, a group of engineering students staged a protest march inside the campus. Police claimed that students holding placards and banners tried to leave the campus.
“We tried to stop them from moving out of the campus for their own safety…When they didn’t relent, we cane-charged the students to disperse them,” Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Hazratbal, Sajad Bukhari told The Indian Express.
The students, however, alleged that police used brute force and seized the Tricolour they were carrying during the protest. They accused the policemen of barging into hostels and beating up students.
CRPF was deployed on the campus Tuesday night. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also called up Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti and discussed the situation with her. The state government assured full security to students from other states enrolled in the institute.
In Jammu, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told PTI: “We assure security to the students from various states studying at NIT Srinagar. Additional security has been deployed at the campus.”
He said that the administration had held a meeting with protesting NIT students to resolve the issue, adding that the Srinagar SSP was camping in the area to ensure peace.
About the demand by outstation students to enhance their security and postpone the exams, he said: “The director of NIT has said that the demands have been accepted.”
Apart from replacing J&K police with central forces to enhance their security, the protesting students have also demanded hoisting of Tricolour near the main gate of the campus, and action against “anti-national” faculty members. Some students are also demanding a transfer to other colleges.
More than 1,200 outstation students are enrolled at the institute, while around 200 local students study here. While local students attended classes Monday, outstation students have been boycotting them. With the campus being out of bounds for everyone except the students, outstation students posted pictures of Tuesday’s police action on social networking sites seeking help from Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
In Delhi, HRD ministry officials said they were in touch with the management of the institute.
Meanwhile, the institute’s administration has already ordered a probe into the last week’s incident. A report is likely to be submitted in a few days.
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