NIT row: Outstation students announce boycott of classes

NIT Srinagar campus witnessed clashes after Kashmiri students celebrated India's defeat at the hands of West Indies in World Cup T20.

Srinagar: The outstation students of Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT) on Saturday held a protest rally in winter capital Jammu in support of their demands. They alleged that the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and the college administration have turned a ‘complete deaf ear’ to their ‘primary’ demands.

These demands include permanent deployment of the CRPF on the campus ‘with complete powers and should not be under State administration’, reshuffling of college administration immediately and restructuring of NIT Srinagar administration by introducing cadre system and administration (both teaching and non-teaching staff) should consist of 50 percent quota of J&K personnel and remaining 50 percent quota from other states of India.

Their other demands are immediate formation of Student's Council on the lines of top NITs/IITs in the country, online Special Grievance Redressal Mechanism (SGRM) exclusively for NIT Srinagar directly monitored by the MHRD and that the same should not consist of any faculty member, action should be taken against J&K Police and administration involved in the April 5 cane-charge incident, action against those faculty members “who are harassing students academically” and that a Tricolour should be hoisted on the campus.

The protesting students said that the list of the faculty members accused by them of harassing students academically has already been submitted to the MHRD.

Joined by local leaders and activists of National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students took out a protest march from Jammu Press Club which culminated into a rally outside the City’s government-run Science College.

Those who spoke on the occasion said that the protests will continue till their demands are met. They also announced that they could boycott the regular classes which are scheduled to resume on Monday.

NIT Srinagar campus overlooking the Dal Lake had on April 1 witnessed clashes after Kashmiri students celebrated India’s defeat at the hands of West Indies in ICC Twenty-20 semi final by chanting pro-Pakistan slogans and lightening fireworks.

Exasperated by it, the outstation students who outnumber the locals allegedly attacked them, leading to clashes and closure of the campus for students for four days.

On April 5 evening, the outstation students attempted to leave the campus but were confronted by local police which used force, leaving many students injured.

The incident evoked outrage across the country and the Centre rushed a two-member team of MHRD to hold talks with outstation students and asses the overall situation on the campus. Also, CRPF and SSB were deployed on the campus.

Later majority of the outstation students left the campus for their homes after skipping minor examinations. The State government facilitated their travel after the MHRD conceded their demand that they would be given an opportunity to write these exams later.

Last week, the NIT Srinagar official website reported that the ministry has agreed that the college management will consider formation of students' council and all national festivals will be celebrated in the institute.

The minutes of a meeting, attended by NIT Srinagar Director Rajat Gupta, officials of MHRD and students’ representatives, and decisions by the Board of Governors were put on the website but it did not refer to another major demand of students that MHRD minister Smriti Irani or the Prime Minister should hoist the tricolour at the campus.

The meeting decided to allow optional external evaluation for recent exams. Also, a committee constituted for students grievance redressal having two external members will go for further fact finding into incidents that led to tension at NIT Srinagar and is expected to submit its report around May 15.

As per the website, among the main decisions taken is that "a new Committee for students Grievance Redressal which has been constituted with two external members will do the fact finding now and its Report is likely to be submitted by 15th May, 2016."

It was also that the Board of Governors will consider the report and formation of students’ council and its modalities. Optional external evaluation "for the minor one exam, on written request and irrevocable basis," has also been approved.

Enhancement of medical facilities within 3-4 months, prefab two hostels having 80 rooms and prefab 15 class rooms likely to be completed within six months, reimbursement of medical bill claims and food and fruit corner in the campus are the other demands of students that NIT administration has agreed to.

It further said that the issue of encroachment of NIT land has already been taken up and it will be vigorously pursued with state government by the administration and all national festivals will be celebrated and that demands relating to improved facilities in the hostels will be expeditiously looked into.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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