Over 20 NIT Srinagar students injured in lathi charge by Police
CRPF deployed, MHRD team flying from Delhi, Bandh call in Jammu
STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR/JAMMU: Over 20 non-Kashmiri students of National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, on Tuesday sustained injuries and fractures when Police struck on them with lathi charge as they were shouting pro-India slogans and carrying the national flag in an attempt to stage a march on the Hazratbal Road, in close vicinity of the University of Kashmir.
Till late on Tuesday night, Government did not issue any statement on the situation at NIT Srinagar as reports and rumours spread fast, suggesting that a large number of the students had suffered serious injuries and fractures in the Police action. It was only at 11.23 pm that Kashmir Zonal Police headquarters issued a press release.
“Today evening about 500 students of the NIT Srinagar in shape of mob carrying banners displaying their demands tried to take out a march and reached the main gate on the main road. They tried to come out on the main road. The Police deployment stopped them from doing so and told them to move back. The mob of students resorted to violence by assaulting the policemen including officers and started stone pelting. This resulted in damage to public property. The deployment chased the mob and in this melee some of the students got injured who were given first aid”, said the Police statement.
According to the press release, Police have registered case FIR no: 45 at Police Station Nigeen against the students and investigation has begun. “Situation has been brought under control. Senior police officers visited the spot and are monitoring the situation”, it added.
Independent sources maintained that “over 20” students sustained injuries. They were rushed to different hospitals for treatment. Some of them were treated at the NIT’s own medical facility at the campus.
SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar told STATE TIMES on telephone that the situation had been brought under control with a “mild lathi charge”. He said that over 300 students gathered at the campus in the evening. While shouting slogans and carrying banners and placards, they attempted to go out and stage a march on the road. “It would have evoked a violent reaction. They pushed a Dy SP and others and tried to go out forcibly. Thereupon we used mild lathi charge”, SSP said.
SSP Srinagar claimed that the unruly students pelted stones and damaged the public properties. He did not give exact number of the injured students and maintained that the Police did not know it as they had been treated at NIT’s own medical facility inside the campus.
Officers at Srinagar’s Bone & Joint Hospital said that four students with multiple injuries and fractures were under treatment there. They identified them as Akash Kumar of Patna, Ghansham of Rajasthan, Hafiz of Samba Jammu and Shubhang of Delhi. They said that all the four were stable.
Late night reports said that CRPF was deployed along with J&K Police and restrictions were imposed on movement of the students.
On Friday last, clashes and demonstrations had occurred at the NIT campus following India’s defeat in the T20 cricket match with West Indies on Thursday. Reports said that the clashes erupted when the Kashmiri students began celebrating India’s defeat and the non-Kashmiri students, who constitute over 70% of the roll of the trainees, staged pro-India demonstrations and marched while carrying a national flag.
Even as NIT was closed down for two days, it was opened on the assurance of Police for academic activity on Monday. However, the trouble started when students of 3rd semester did not attend classes and a large number of the students attempted to take out a march in the evening.
Following fresh tension, a high level team of MHRD is rushing to Srinagar on Wednesday morning to defuse the tension and to listen to the grievances of the non-local students. According to official sources the MHRD team, which was earlier scheduled to visit on April 11, decided to visit the volatile campus on April 6 to defuse the unrest.
A group of non-local students wanted to leave the NIT premises and return to their home states, saying they were "not feeling safe" inside the campus, a police official said.
In Delhi, HRD ministry officials said they were in touch with the management of the institute and the Director of the NIT had spoken to the students so that normalcy would be restored.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and discussed with her the situation at NIT Srinagar. "Spoke to J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti ji regarding situation in NIT, Srinagar. She has assured me to look into the issue and take immediate action (sic)," Singh tweeted.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh asserted that police had to resort to mild lathi charge to prevent students from moving out of the campus to meet media persons. "We assure security to the students of various states of the country studying in NIT Srinagar. Additional security of CRPF has been deployed at the campus," Nirmal Singh said.
Singh, who along with Minister of State (MoS) Education Priya Sethi, talked to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, DGP K Rajendra and Director NIT, said: "All measures are being taken by the administration of the NIT to instil confidence among these students and the issues raised by them are being resolved."
"We take responsibility all the students of the country studying in NIT. We have put in place all the measures," he said, adding that they are demanding security and postponement of exams. Director of NIT has said that the demands have been accepted.
"I appeal to the students to call on my number 09419149494 in case they have any problems on any front particularly on the security. We will look into that," Deputy Chief Minister added. "We assure the parents of these students that all measures have been taken for the safety of students," he said.
Meanwhile, Shri Ram Sena, state president Rajiv Mahajan strongly condemned the incident of NIT Srinagar in which J&K Police cops brutally hit the students with rifle butts Mahajan said it is very shameful and shocking act we will not tolerate such brutal attacks on innocent students. Mahajan urged to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to intervene in this matter immediately and take stern action against the culprits.
Rajiv Mahajan also gave a call for ‘Jammu bandh’ on Thursday 7th of April 2016. He further appealed to all political parties and social organizations to support the complete Jammu Bandh to teach them lesson that such incidents will not happen in future which can lead to communal riots.Rajiv Mahajan also appealed to all citizens of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace and brotherhood.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]