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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.
Ajeetesh Kumar, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Few days back I had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of my friends studying at NIT Srinagar right now.So everything I am describing below is in line with what that conversation took place in between us.I felt responsible to share everything on be half of my friend.
It all started on the night of India vs West Indies world T20 semifinal match, when local kashmiri students, in all the hostels, came out of their rooms to celebrate India’s defeat. This kashmiri group of students started shouting anti-national slogans, abusing the non-locals in a very obscene language and started firing crackers, shouting “Hindustan murdabad, pakistan zindabad”.
It is worthy of taking note that normally the gates of the 1st year hostel (Indus hostel) are closed by the security guards there at 10pm to avoid any ragging or such things. But on that particular day, the gates were reopened at 11pm by the security guards deployed in that hostel, which facilitated the movement of kashmiri students in and out of hostels to celebrate the Indian team’s loss.
On the spot, many non-local students in both these hostels called the security in- charge of the campus (Mr. Mushtaq) to control the situation, but he didn’t arrive in the hostel premises deliberately, as he himself supports them.
I would like to make this clear to Indian Govt and the whole nation that the college administration(except non-kashmiris) fully support these anti-national behavior of kashmiri students and they do everything possible to suppress the non-local students and their nationalist feelings.
The campus canteen(Khan restaurants)staff at the back of Indus hostel(1st year) started stone-pelting at the hostel which led to minor injuries to studentsin Indus, and also caused damage to the hostel infrastructure including window panes, walls etc.
The college authority had not responded or taken any action against this incidence, despite complaint by the students. In response to these events against non-locals, a group of first year students, who hail from other parts of India complained about this on the next day to the Chief Warden, Dr. Abdul Liman, but
unfortunately he didn’t entertain them. Disappointed by this, the students approached the Director, where the students tried to give a written application of this to him, but he rejected to take it. This application was signed by many students, but he didn’t paid any attention to it. The non-local students demanded an immediate action against the local students involved in the incidence, assure them of the safety of the Tawi hostel, and also requested for hoisting of Indian national flag in the campus, since NIT is a CFTI(centrally funded technical institute, under Govt. of India), and so that we non-local students feel confident of being in Indian territory. The director sent the students back with an assurance to take action but only verbally, and with no fixed deadline of his action.
After this non local students formed a group in the Chinar ground of campus as a mark of protest. Some local Kashmiri students along with M.Tech and Ph.D scholars (who also teach the B.Tech students in their respective departments) too formed a group . Shortly group of non locals raised pro-national slogans inside the campus inresponse to which kashmiri group of students raised anti national slogans. Some non-local students intervened, in reply to which one of the Kashmiri student hit a non-local with a drafter(stationary equipment) leading to injuryon his head. After this, all hell broke loose and there was a minor clash between these two groups.
The administration tried to intervene but to no good effect as slogans were repeatedly raised from both sides. The non-local students afterwards raised Indian national flag and moved in the campus with it, shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’!! Feeling annoyed, irritated and frustrated by the scene, Kashmiri students raised a green flag, similar to Pakistan national flag and started retaliating with the anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans. It is worth noting here that normally campus main gate doesn’t allows the people from outside to enter the campus, but on that very day, during that time when all this was going on, large number of students from outside (who were not the students of NIT) entered the NIT campus. Also other localites had also gathered outside the main gate by that time. Watching both the pro-India and anti-India group directly confronting each other in the open, the NIT administration and faculty members, who were also out in the campus fields by then, should have ideally taken action against the anti-India groups there with the help of security guards of the campus (that is what is expected from the administration or staff of any NIT, who are central government employees, runs under the authority of Indian Govt. and where
majority of the students are from other parts of India). But rather, they chose to do no harm to the anti-India group shouting anti-national slogans there, and called up the J&K police.
Even after the police arrived situation did not change much. Soon stones were hurled at non local students from outside the campus in presence of the J&K Police. Instead of protecting the students, the police took advantage of situation and started the so called “Lathi charge ” on unarmed non-local students who stood with the TIRANGA and also fired tear gases to disperse non-local students. No harm was done to the anti-India students who were still continuing to shout the pro-Pakistan slogans with the Pakistani flags. Many were injured during this barbaric assault by the police.
The college authority issued a notice on the same night stating that the all students should vacate the hostels immediately, which was highly unexpected amidst this chaos, since the non-local students could not leave immediately as there is no proper connectivity and means of transport from Srinagar to Jammu or Delhi at night, except going by road which is highly unsafe during dark hours. Also, after this incidence, the non-local students were highly under threat from local mob while on the way to Jammu.
At the same time, there was a gathering of localites at the main gate of college campus who were throwing obscenities and were quite annoyed at the non-local students. The college authority decided to call the higher police officials to take control of the situation. The SSP and DM addressed the students later that night and made sure that the issue is cooled down and assured them that the students will be given security by the J&K police. But they also took the assurance from the non-locals and local students that they will not to worsen the situation. Still, on the next morning, some Kashmiri students entered the 2nd year hostel (Chenab Hostel) and threatened a non-local student, and threatened him of the consequences once the police force leaves the campus. That student was however caught and was taken to director’s office but it was not made clear what was the action taken against him. The non-locals, however, who stood by their ‘promise’ were now infuriated and then decided to call the SSP again, this time to put a non- negotiable demand of sending them to the airport safely. But this demand was also given a cold shoulder and were even told to give their details to the NIT authority. The students however feared and apprehended that they might
be tortured academically or may be given NFTE certificate(not fit for technical education), which might ruin their career. The non-local students who demanded a safe passage to the airport, were told by the college officials that they were responsible for themselves and college would not take any responsibility, whatsoever. The students have also started receiving death threats on social networking sites which is also adding to the tension of students as well as parents.
Just to create a pressure on the non-local students, who were still highly insecure regarding their safety concerns, a notice was put up by the NIT administration in all the hostels, stating clearly the resumption of classes from Monday onwards. Most interesting fact was that the notice mentioning the date-sheet of Minor exams was also put up on the same day, which is usually an off-day of the institute (Saturday) and institute administration ‘pretended’ that everything was moving in the peaceful direction. This was all going on when there were personal threat messages being given to non-local students via messages on social networking sites and also public threat was given by the local public.
The condition of non locals in NIT Srinagar was getting worse day by day. After three days of negligence by the authority, the students decided to hold a silent protest on Monday, 4th April, and drafted a list of five basic demands which they have decided to present only to the MHRD officials, that too infront of media.
At the same time, the Director of the college, Dr. Rajat Gupta and SSP Amit Kumar, are propagating false news in the local media and to the Central ministry that things are under control here. Moreover it seemed that the college management has chosen to neglect the demands and has started the academics for the day scholars only.
When students were going for a silent protest and filming the J&K police force’s response, the police forcefully thrashed and slapped some non-local students and seized their mobile phones. Moreover they were threatening the students to lodge FIR against them and hurling abuses and obscenities if they did not join the classes immediately.
Is sitting on a silent protest, without any violence, just demanding to talk to MHRD officials and the MHRD minister, that too in front of media is such a crime that they should be beaten up or forced by the NIT administration????
Can’t the government accept such a simple demand of students? Is this such a demand which requires control by police forces???
Because of this, the students want the national media to arrive in the campus and interact with the non-local students and take their version of the story and their feelings, so that the whole India can see thetrue picture.
REAL STORY OF NIT-SRINAGAR INCIDENT ON 5TH APRIL 2016
(By NIT Srinagar Student)
Holding placards, whilst going for a silent march the students of NIT SRINAGAR were thrashed brutally by the J&K Police. J&K Police hit students with batons and stones.
Students had gone to the institute’s main gate to address media personnel’s about the situation but their placards were snatched and torn and then the infuriated JKP let all hell loose on students who went for cover. This did not stop even as students entering their dormitories were pulled back and beaten in the hostel corridors. Police also fired several shots and even pelted stones on the students who had nowhere to go but to run for their lives. Some were successful but a lot of them sustained injuries. The injured students were rushed to the medical centre of the institute and more critical one’s were shifted to nearby hospital. Many were left with fractured arms and legs.
After all this, the students hoisted ‘the Tirangaa’ for some transition time but that too was taken away from them by the JKP. The central force SSB watched all this as mute spectators as students appalled for help. The dripping blood of students added to the misery of other students who were locked inside their own hostels. This act of JKP was so muddling that policemen were beating students in groups as if they were ordered to use any means necessary. All of this is in vindication with bonafied facts, photos and videos.
This was my try to speak on be his half.