Outstation students at NIT here continued to hold protests over various demands today even as some officers of the Jammu and Kashmir police spoke out over criticism against the force, saying no “certificate” of nationalism is needed by the force which has brought the state out of a “madness called terrorism”.
Local students at the institute, on the other hand, opposed most of the demands of outstation students, including that for permanent presence of central security forces, saying it will make the campus vulnerable to disturbance.
The outstation students, who are demanding shifting of NIT out of Kashmir and action against police personnel involved in lathicharge on Tuesday among other things, took out a march on the campus for the fourth day today.
The protesting students tried to march towards the main gate but were stopped by the security force personnel on duty inside the campus, officials said.
They said the students wanted to interact with the media personnel camping outside the main gate of the institute at Hazratbal.
The students shouted slogans in favour of their demands but later went back inside the campus, the officials said.
Meanwhile, with the state police under attack over the Tuesday’s lathicharge, two senior officers of the force took to social media to vent their anguish.
Mubassir Latifi, SSP of the elite Crime Branch and Firoz Yehya, DySP at Baramulla Headquarters answered criticism against the force for taking action against the agitating students at NIT campus.
“J and K Police doesn’t need any certificate of nationalism or impartiality from those whose valour doesn’t extend beyond their keypads,” Latifi posted on his ‘Facebook’ account.
“J and K Police is a saga of sacrifice and courage and has brought this state out of a madness called terrorism,” said Latifi, a Masters in Law.
“Jammu and Kashmir Police doesn’t discriminate on the basis of who’s local and who’s nonlocal. Neither do we enjoy beating up people. Force is used only for maintenance of law and order and to disperse unlawful assembly of people,” he added.
He said anyone resorting to violence was committing a crime. “Someone resorting to violence is committing a crime and police knows how to take on crime,” he wrote.
Yehya said that many of his colleagues have been asking and many more must be thinking “whose war are we fighting?”
“Many of my colleagues have been asking and many more must be thinking ‘whose war are we fighting?’ All I can tell them is that, this is just another phase and will pass. Further, JK Police doesn’t need any certificate...”
“We must continue doing the good work within the ambit of law and nothing shall deter us....Good common people who we serve may be alienated with us for reasons more than one and our good work shall certainly help us win their hearts,” Yehya, a Masters in Economics, said. (MORE) MIJ SKL AKK AKK 04082018 “Those who are seen to be doing anything other than what law permits them to do will be taken to task...please remember JKP must be one of the few Police forces which has the courage to take action against proven offences by officers of high rank and officials of its own force,” the police officer said.
“Police action is not doubted when a student from any other institute is booked for breaking law, but there’s controversy while we are dealing with students of a particular institute!” wrote Yehya.
The police resorted to lathicharge of the outstation students on April 5 when they were making attempts to come out on the road from the campus, located on the banks of Dal lake.
The students tried to push their way out of campus and march on the streets of Hazratbal in a bid to return to their home. They allegedly pushed a senior police officer following which the police swung into action and chased them back to their rooms.
Yesterday, police released several video clippings which showed the outstation students, carrying the national flag, indulging in vandalism.
Yehya said the complete video coverage of the incident at NIT would have “achieved zero debate and low TRP” for some news channels. “It’s all economics, u see,” he said.
In an apparent message to TV channels, he said “intelligence lies in checking out the whole set of facts rather than seeing partially true scenes on videos meant to evoke sentiments of common and less intelligent people.
“Some lampoons celebrated the defeat of Indian cricket team, other lampoons reacted and vandalised the institution. The authorities of the institution didn’t step in and one thing led to another,” he said.
Police has registered two FIRs against unknown persons relating to incidents of violence on NIT campus on April 1 and April 5.
Meanwhile, local students, in a memorandum to the team of Union HRD Ministry, said the demand by outstation students for permanent presence of central security forces at the institute can make it vulnerable to disturbances owing to political events outside the campus.
“We are all aware of the volatile nature of Kashmir region. Presence of central security or armed security forces of any type will only make the campus (and subsequently, its students) vulnerable to disturbance owing to political events outside college,” the memorandum reads.
“Let’s make this very clear. They are demanding the presence of armed security on the grounds of an educational institute. This is not acceptable here, or anywhere in the world. In the past, security forces used to reside in the hostel. This set a tone of hostility and fear amongst every student and parent,” they said.
On the allegation of academic harassment of outstation students, the local students said the demand was not only “disrespectful” to the teachers at NIT but also the HRD ministry which selects them.
“This demand comes as a surprise.The academic section has the award rolls of the current students and the years before. Taking a look at those records, a fair number of the toppers are non-locals.This reinforces that in NIT Srinagar, the only requirement to succeed is merit and hard work.They have never been academically harassed before and will never be in the future.
“This allegation is disrespectful to our teachers and by that extension, MHRD which selects them,” the local students said.
“We have always been great hosts to the students who come here from outside. We do our best to make them feel at home, and can assure you without an iota of doubt, that we will continue to do so.Our hands are always extended,” they said in the memorandum.
In a letter to the management of NIT Srinagar, the outstation students had listed five demands that, they feel, would enable them to peacefully reside at the campus and concentrate on their studies.
Commenting on the NIT issue, Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today said the outstation students at NIT are safe and asked them to concentrate on their studies rather than playing into the hands of “opportunists” and “divisive forces”.
“Whatever is happening in the NIT for the past few days is unfortunate. Some political parties and majority of Indian electronic media are exaggerating the situation and trying to portray it as an issue between Hindu and Muslims and state versus non-state subjects with an objective to seek shifting of the institute,” he said, adding they would not succeed in their nefarious designs.
Trouble broke out at the campus when groups of local and outstation students clashed following India’s defeat at the hands of West Indies in the semi final of T20 World Cup.