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J&K government orders probe into NIT incident; 2 FIRs registered

By Mukhtar Ahmad
April 07, 2016 17:35 IST
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Police releases video of non-local students attacking cops; outstation students continue to boycott classes.

IMAGE: CRPF personnel stand guard at the NIT Srinagar campus on Thursday. All photographs: Umar Ganie

The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered an inquiry into the incidents of clashes between two groups of students and the subsequent police action at National Institute of Technology, Srinagar.

State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, in a statement, said that ‘additional deputy commissioner, Srinagar, has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the incident’.

He said the inquiry committee has been asked to submit its report within 15 days.

Akhtar said the ‘situation is being closely monitored by the state administration, officials of the Union human resource development ministry and the NIT and all the issues will be resolved soon’.

The Jammu and Kashmir police has registered two separate first information reports regarding the incident.

The first FIR was registered against unknown persons for the clashes between outstation and local students on April 1. The police has invoked Sections 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief), 336 (endangering life of others) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Ranbir Penal Code for the clashes between local and outstation students that took place on Friday, a police official said.

In the second FIR registered for the incidents of April 5, the police, besides slapping the charges of the previous FIR, has added Sections 353 (assault on public servant) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the RPC.

While no one has been named in the two FIRs yet, the official said police is investigating the video evidence of the violence that took place on the days of incidents.

A day after outstation and Kashmiri students of the NIT clashed over the latter celebrating the loss of Indian cricket team in World T20 semi-final against West Indies, the state police had lathi-charged the non-local students, injuring several of them. The students, according to police, were trying to take out a march outside the NIT campus.

Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh arrived in Srinagar on Thursday morning to take stock of the situation. He met senior officers.

State Director General of Police K Rajendra visited the campus and met the striking students. He assured them that their problems will be sorted out.

IMAGE: Parents visit the NIT campus to meet their wards after the reports of clashes between two groups of students.  

Most of the non-local students boycotted the classes on Thursday and continued their protests.

The students demanded that the NIT be shifted outside Kashmir. Authorities have already deployed the Central Reserve Police Force inside the campus, while the Jammu and Kashmir police is guarding the main entrance of the campus.

The J&K police has also released video clippings showing non-local students attacking the cops with stones and damaging property at the campus.

The video, shot on Tuesday when trouble restarted in the campus, shows a large number of non-local students protesting against the NIT administration and trying to march towards the main gate of the campus.

The students, some of them masked, are seen carrying iron rods and stones. Some of the students threw stones at Jammu and Kashmir Police and many buildings of the campus resulting in damage to many window panes.

They are also seen vandalising the property at the campus, including damaging a private car of an administrative official.

Meanwhile, a group of non-local girl students on Wednesday said their fight was against the administration and the issue should not be given a political or religious colour.

“Our issue was not to incite the tempers. We all want justice. We are just fighting against our administration and we are not fighting on religious issues. So please don't make it a religious issue,” said a girl student at the NIT in a video message.

“We neither want a temple to be built here nor do we want to demolish a mosque. We only want justice on what happened to our friends and don't make it a political or religious issue,” said another girl.

They said the non-local students were not against the local students but wanted justice for their friends who, they alleged, were beaten by the police on Tuesday.

“They (the administration) is saying (that) the situation is normal. Only 10 per cent of the students are going to the classes and 90 per cent are boycotting. Is this situation called normal? We are not against the locals, we are really not against them. All we want is the justice for our friends who were brutally beaten by the police,” the girl said.

With inputs from PTI

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar