HRD Team at NIT Srinagar; Smriti Irani Speaks to Mehbooba Mufti

The two-member HRD team will stay in Srinagar until 11 April. 

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Police and CRPF personnel at National Institute of Technology (NIT) following tensions between the local and non-local students of the institute in Srinagar on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)

With tensions gripping NIT in Srinagar, a two-member team from the Union HRD ministry on Wednesday held consultations with officials of the engineering institute, even as outstation students put forth five demands, including action against staff involved in “anti-national” activities.

The two-member team from the HRD ministry has arrived and is holding consultations with NIT officials. 
NIT Official
Students of Jammu University protest against the police action on non-Kashmiri students in NIT Srinagar, in Jammu on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)
Students of Jammu University protest against the police action on non-Kashmiri students in NIT Srinagar, in Jammu on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)

Smriti Irani has also spoken to Mehbooba Mufti on the incident. She has assured that the two-member HRD team will remain in Srinagar until 11 April. Irani has also assured that all students will be provided safety and security against any events that could take place.

I spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti ji and she has assured me about the safety of the students. Will not let injustice happen to students. Mufti ji has also told me that a division level inquiry has also been constituted to ascertain what happened.
Smriti Irani, HRD Minister
Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: ANI)
Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: ANI)

A senior official said the HRD team, which included Sanjeev Sharma, Director (Technical Education) in the HRD ministry, and Deputy Director Finance Fazal Mehmood, will also interact with the students of the institute to take stock of the situation.

The mandate is to build confidence amongst students and assure them about their safety. 
Senior HRD official

“Tactful Handling”

As the HRD team arrived in Srinagar, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the matter needs “tactful handling” and the state government should look into it “without back seat drivers”.

On Friday last week, the campus had witnessed clashes between local and outstation students over India’s defeat in the semi-final match in the World T20 tournament.

After the clashes, the NIT authorities had shut down the institute which was reopened Tuesday.

The Centre has conveyed its concern to Jammu and Kashmir Government over the police action against students at NIT Srinagar, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.

Outstation Students Seek Security

Unrest was witnessed again on Tuesday at the campus, with outstation students saying that they felt unsafe. The students subsequently attempted to leave the campus, which led to a confrontation with the police. This resulted in the students being lathi-charged, resulting in injuries.

CRPF personnel deployed at NIT Srinagar. (Photo: ANI)
CRPF personnel deployed at NIT Srinagar. (Photo: ANI)

In a letter to the management of NIT Srinagar dated 4 April, the outstation students have listed five demands that, they feel, would enable them to peacefully reside at the campus and concentrate on their studies.

The students alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir Police has not been able to provide security to them.

Due to the anti-national activities rising in campus premises, students not local to Srinagar have faced serious problems as well as life threats. Due to the cold situation here, students are eager to reach their homes. National Flag should be hoisted at main gate/fountain (the state flag may be hoisted as well). (It) rather has lathi-charged the students and shot tear gas shells at them. Therefore, central forces should be engaged for the security of the students of NIT Srinagar. There should be no academic harassment by the faculty.
Letter Excerpt

A police official had said the students had heated arguments with the police personnel on Tuesday and they also allegedly shoved an officer, leading to lathi-charge by the cops.

A police officer checks IDs of students at NIT following tension between the local and non-local students of the institute, in Srinagar on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)
A police officer checks IDs of students at NIT following tension between the local and non-local students of the institute, in Srinagar on Wednesday, 6 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)
Students also demanded “equality and transparency” during all examinations, events and activities held at the institute. The students said action should be taken “against faculty and administration members who are involved in anti-national activities and violence”.

Several students were injured in police action, prompting deployment of two columns of CRPF at the campus to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Also read:
Rajnath Discusses NIT Clashes, Srinagar Issue With Mehbooba
Centre Sends Team to NIT Srinagar as Campus Remains Tense

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