The national impact of NIT Srinagar happenings

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Ankur Thakur, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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I did my B.Tech from NIT Hamirpur and during my stay I always felt that premier institutes like NIT’s and IIT’s are and will always be free from the clutches of politics and the unnecessary hype it brings with. The recent happenings at NIT Srinagar do shake up my belief. The students of NIT Srinagar have been allegedly manhandled by the local police leading to suspension of classes. As a result, this has taken the shape of a national issue in recent times.

The crackdown comes months after the controversy surrounding Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, where student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and two others were arrested — and later released on bail — on charges of sedition.

The clashes in the NIT campus started on March 31, when a few Kashmiri students celebrated the exit of Indian cricket team from the World T20, following its loss to the West Indies in the semi-final match. This was strongly objected to by non-Kashmiri students in the campus and clashes broke out, leaving a few injured. On April 1, non-Kashmiri students waved the tri-color on campus and tried to hoist it near NIT’s administrative block, protesting against celebrations on the night before.

On April 5, the campus was thrust into further turmoil when some engineering students, who staged a protest march inside the campus and allegedly tried to leave the campus, clashed with the police. They later accused the police of using brute force and, eventually, barge into hostels in order to beat up the students. CRPF was subsequently deployed on the campus.

In this regard, the Centre’s decision to intervene and send a three-member team of the HRD ministry to listen to the protesting students and help solve their problems is a welcome step. But the Centre’s complete silence on the attacks on Kashmiri students studying in colleges outside the state and the police intervention in the NIT controversy have raised many eyebrows in Kashmir. The people in Valley see it as another message from the Centre that students from other parts of India are different from the students of the Valley.

The good news, however, is that the Valley-based political parties, across the separatist-mainstream divide, have resisted the temptation to use this crisis for their political means and are out to douse the flames.

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