JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Jammu is rocked with massive protests and demonstrations since this morning with hundreds of students and other members of political and religious organisations hitting the streets against alleged manhandling of students at the National Institute of Technology at Srinagar.
Students and activists block the Bikram Chowk crossing for around 20 minutes which had a significant affect on the city traffic. It took at least an hour for the Police to clear the roads for traffic.
Meanwhile, unrest was witnessed again on Tuesday at NIT Srinagar, the scene of last week’s clash, with outstation students expressing a sense of insecurity and attempting to leave the campus, leading to a confrontation with police which resorted to lathicharge in which some were injured.
With the situation being tense, CRPF was on Tuesday night deployed at campus and Jammu and Kashmir government assured full security to the students from other states studying here.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also called up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and discussed with her the situation at NIT.
Some non-local students attempted to leave the campus and return to their home states, saying, they were “not feeling safe” inside the campus, a police official said.
Police personnel on duty at the NIT tried to reassure the students that they were safe inside the campus but they were not pacified, he said.
As the head of the security deployment was speaking to them, a few of the students allegedly resorted to sloganeering and even pushed him around, the official claimed.
He said the other police personnel then resorted to “lathicharge” to disperse the students who were “getting violent”.
The situation, however, was brought under control shortly, the official said.
Outstation students, on the other hand, alleged that they were holding protests and were lathicharged by the police with brute forces and not allowed to move out of the NIT gate.
“We had sat on dharna and were demanding meeting with HRD officials. We held meeting with NIT administration and they agreed to the demand. We were allowed freely to move out the gate,” said one of the students on condition of the anonymity.
“When we were going out of the campus as per the past practice, police did not allow us and resorted to cane-charge resulting in injuries to several students,” he claimed.
Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told PTI in Jammu on Tuesday night: “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.”
Singh, who along with Minister of State (MoS) Education Priya Sethi, talked to Mehbooba, DGP K Rajendra and NIT Director, said “all measures are being taken by the administration of the NIT to instill confidence among these students and the issues raised by them are being resolved.”
In Delhi, HRD ministry officials said they were in touch with the management of the institute and the Director of the NIT has spoken to the students so that normalcy prevails.
On Friday last, the campus had witnessed clashes between local and non-local students over India’s defeat in the semi-final match in the World T20 tournament.
After the clashes, the NIT authorities had shut down the institute which was reopened on Monday.
“We take responsibility all the students of the country studying in NIT. We have put in place all the measures,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.
Administration has held meeting with the NIT students to resolve the issue, Singh said, adding SSP Srinagar is camping in the area to ensure peace.He said the outstation students are demanding security and postponement of exams.
“Director of NIT has said that the demands have been accepted,” he said.
“I appeal to the students to call on my number in case they have any problems on any front particularly on the security. We will look into that,” Deputy Chief Minister said.
“We assure the parents of these students that all measures have been taken for the safety of students,” he said.
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