After IIT Madras, Delhi’s Jawaharlal University and the University of Hyderabad, the student fraternity in the valley of Kashmir has now been struck by unrest. This time, it has hit the National Institute of Technology in Kashmir. Clashes between non-local students and state police took place inside the university campus. Two companies of CRPF were deployed in the campus following the incident. The social media also started flooding with hashtags and videos related to the clash in the institute.
Let us look at the series of events that led to the fiasco in the university:
How Cricket triggered the clash
It all began with a cricket match. Last Thursday, after India’s defeat against West Indies in the semi-finals of T20 World Cup, the Kashmiri students allegedly started celebrating on campus. This angered the non-Kashmiri students. The above incident triggered a full-fledged clash between local and non-local students on the next day. This led to tension in the institute with the non-locals alleging “anti-national” sentiment among the Kashmiris. On Friday, the atmosphere at the institute was charged as hundreds of non-local students started protesting against Kashmiri students by shouting slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ and ‘Pakistan Murdabad’. While retaliating, the locals shouted ‘Hum Kya Chahte Azadi’. To settle the scuffle between the groups, the police resorted to firing tear gas shells and used baton charge.
To prevent any further escalation of tension, the authorities decided to shut the institute and resumed classes again on Monday. However, that did not go down well as the Non-Kashmiri students started boycotting classes. And on Tuesday, a group of them went to the director’s office with a set of demands.
The demands they had are as follows:
Written assurance of an open meeting with Ministry of HRD
No classes till students are allowed to talk to Ministry of HRD
Postponement of minor exams till a week after the meeting with MHRD because the students are not in mental condition to continue their preparation
No calls to parents of students to pressurise them
Fake news of normalcy must be avoided by administration
Proper action against members of canteen staff who pelted stones towards students
Proper action against faculties involved
No action against students involved in the clashes as it would ruin their careers
Police and students on the collision course
After putting their demands to the top administration, the non-Kashmiri students marched towards the main gate of the campus to address the gathered media. Then at this point, police lathi charged on them. The students were brutally thrashed. Some were hit with rifle butts too.
As per Hindustan times, “Police said they were compelled to use mild force after the students assembled in the afternoon and tried to move out on the main road.
“Despite repeated requests they were adamant to move out on the road. That is why we tried to push them back and used mild force,” said Abdul Majid, station house officer of Nigeen police station.
“We all know the situation in Kashmir and in this scenario their protest on the road was fraught with danger,” Majid said.
Police excess was acknowledged
Following this clash between students and police, two companies of CRPF had to be deployed on Tuesday night to bring the situation under control. After Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s talk with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the central government sent a two-member panel to NIT on Wednesday morning to assess the situation. Education Minister of J&K acknowledged that police excesses was there and has assured of action.