Clashes erupted at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar on Wednesday as local and non-local students clashed with each other. The outstation students then expressed a sense of insecurity and attempted to leave the campus. At that time, they had a confrontation with the local police, who resorted to lathicharge to stop the students from leaving.
With the situation growing tense, the government deployed the CRPF to the campus. The newly-formed Jammu and Kashmir government assured full security to students who have come to study at the institute from other states.
Many eminent personalities and senior politicians expressed great concern over the issue, some even taking to microblogging site Twitter to express their opinion.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh:
Singh said that he has spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about the tensions at the campus. He added that Mehbooba has taken all the necessary measures to protect the students and gave him an assurance in this regard.
I have instructed the DGP Jammu & Kashmir to send a team of officers to NIT Srinagar to assure the students of their safety and security.
Spoke to Governor J&K & DGP regarding the situation in NIT Srinagar. I assure the students that they should not worry about their security.
— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) April 3, 2016
Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani
Referring to J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti, Irani said, "Mufti ji has also told me that an inquiry has also been constituted to ascertain what happened". She added that she has asked students to approach her ministry with their problems.
"Till the exams start, an HRD team will remain on the campus," Irani said and assured that there will be "no injustice" to the students, as reported by CNN-IBN.
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 6, 2016
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh
"HRD ministry will look into NIT Srinagar matter; I spoke to CM Mehbooba Mufti as well,” Jitendra Singh said, adding that force should not be used against students, reported Zee News. “Students should maintain peace otherwise external elements will come in to gain political mileage,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh
Meanwhile, Nirmal Singh, who is under fire for playing down the unrest at the NIT campus, told NDTV that he "was misinformed" about the incident.
"Police officers who were involved in lathi charge will be punished. I was told it was a 'mild' lathi charge which is why I used that term earlier," he told NDTV.
There was mild lathi charge when NIT students tried to move to the gate to meet media: Nirmal Singh, J&K Deputy CM pic.twitter.com/rsRvqgXmCr
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 5, 2016
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah
Abdullah took to Twitter to express his grief over the events and take pot shots at the BJP and PDP government.
Rushing in a team from HRD ministry coupled with the CRPF replacing J&K police speaks volumes about Delhi's confidence in Mehbooba Mufti.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) April 6, 2016
Cool heads need to prevail, tactful handling is the order of the day. Let the state government handle #NIT issue without back seat drivers.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) April 6, 2016
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Kejriwal condemned the event on microblogging site Twitter:
Lathi charge on students in srinagar is highly condemnable. BJP-PDP must stop this immediately
Congress MP Ahmed Patel
Patel tweeted how there is unrest at several campuses after the BJP came to power at the Centre:
It started with FTII & now NIT.Ever since BJP took over,the brute force on students & unrest in campuses has become a major cause for worry
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) April 6, 2016
AAP MLA Kapil Mishra
Mishra questioned the government's role in the lathi charge that took place at the NIT campus in Srinagar.
Who ordered lathi charge on students in Srinagar NIT? Will BJP say anything? its BJP Govt. in J&K ये काला गठबंधन है मैंने कल ही कहा था।
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishraAAP) April 5, 2016
Actor Anupam Kher
Kher, a vocal BJP supporter, saw the events at NIT as students expressing their patriotism:
'Courage is Infectious'. My salute to NIT students of Srinagar 4 raising d National Flag & Chanting Vande Mataram. Hope Govt. protects them.
— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPkher) April 2, 2016
Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Geelani vouched for safety and security of outstation students at the institute even as he asked the Centre to ensure protection to Kashmiri students in various institutes outside the state.
"Our policy and our religion teaches us that we should not have any grudge or enmity against anybody on the basis of religion, race, caste or linguistics. If outside students are studying here, we should ensure that there is no harm done to them or any obstacle created in their pursuit for education... We will not tolerate such a situation which is against the teachings of our religion and culture."
With inputs from agencies