A tiff between students over a cricket match result inside Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT) is fast snowballing into the first major crisis for the new Jammu and Kashmir government.
The NIT on Friday suspended class work and ordered evacuation of hostels following a clash between Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri students immediately after West Indies’ win over India in the Twenty20 World Cup semi-final match.
Around eight protesting engineering students, mainly non-locals, were injured on Tuesday night when they tried to march outside the campus to press for their demands. The students were demanding that Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Simriti Irani give them an audience and postpone the examinations.
HRD team heading to NIT
Alarmed by the frantic phone calls made by the students on Tuesday, a HRD team has headed to the NIT to look into the matter.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has already spoken to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Sources said the Chief Minister’s Office is monitoring the situation.
“We have deployed two CRPF companies for security of the students. A Senior Superintendent (SP) rank officer is stationed to keep a vigil. All required measures are taken. Everybody must cooperate to maintain the order. All issues will be addressed,” said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.
College work in the NIT remained affected on Wednesday too. While locals attended the classes, the non-locals continue to boycott the classes in protest to the police action last night.
In Jammu, parents carried out protests against the PDP-BJP alliance and demanded action against “anti-nationals”. “The anti-national and not nationalist students should be treated badly. Besides, how come the NIT authorities will sit for examination in such a tense situation,” said a protester.
According to the police, they used force when 500 students "in the shape of mob, carrying banners displaying their demands, tried to take out a march and reached the main gate on the main road.”
"They tried to come out on the main road. The Police deployment stopped them from doing so and told them to move back. The mob of students resorted to violence by assaulting the policemen, including officers, and started stone pelting. This resulted in damage to public property. The deployment chased the mob and in this melee some of the students got injured who were given first aid," said a police spokesman.