New Delhi: Under attack over deployment of central forces inside National Institute of Technology in Srinagar, the government on Tuesday said in Lok Sabha that it was not a suo moto or unilateral decision but it was done following requests from the institute authorities.
"It was not our decision, not a suo moto decision. There was a request from the NIT authorities and hence the decision was taken to deploy central forces in the campus. It was not a unilateral decision of the central government," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.
Rijiju's remarks during Question Hour came after Congress chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia alleged that by deploying the central forces in the NIT campus, the central government had undermined the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The NIT in Srinagar had witnessed clashes between local and outstation students after India lost to West Indies in World T-20 semi final match on March 31, following which paramilitary forces were deployed at the campus.
Scindia accused the Jammu and Kashmir Police of "brutally" attacking the protesting students of NIT, claiming that they resorted to lathicharge on those students who were shouting slogans like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'.
The Congress leader's comments invited strong protests from treasury benches, particularly from BJP MP and former Union Home Secretary R K Singh, who said Jammu and Kashmir Police is known for its sacrifices for the country's unity and integrity and such comments are unwarranted.
Rijiju said it is a known fact that it is the state police which takes action wherever necessary and the central forces only help the local authorities. He said three companies of paramilitary personnel were deployed inside the NIT campus while outside is being guarded by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. A company of central forces comprises of around 100 personnel.
AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi also disapproved of Scidia's comments saying 3,000 personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police have laid down their lives serving the nation. Owaisi said after deployment of central forces, there was a perception that non-locals can be protected only by central forces, which was not good.
"Alienation of youth has been increasing and if we do not take action to stop alienation of youth, there will be problems," he said.
Rijiju said the reports of HRD Ministry's fact-finding team, Jammu and Kashmir government-appointed Magisterial Inquiry and an internal committee were yet to come and action will be taken as per their recommendations.
Intervening in the debate, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said when the non-local students had requested to go home, the state government made all arrangements and many of them now have returned to the campus.
Singh said those students who missed their examination will now be given opportunity to appear in the tests between May 26-29.
Tension started brewing inside the NIT campus, located on the banks of Dal lake, after some local students burst crackers to celebrate Indian team's defeat in the T-20 match. This was protested by the outstation students resulting in clashes.
During the Zero Hour later, Scindia mocked at the government over the Srinagar NIT row, questioning when it would hoist the national flag there as he referred to the HRD Ministry's recent directive that central universities will fly the tricolour at 207 feet.
The former Union Minister also said that official policy is to have a majority of teachers from outside the place where such institutes are located but in NIT most of the teachers are locals.
"I will ask the HRD Minister when will you fly the national flag at the entrance of the NIT? I am sure members sitting in front of me who preach about nationalism will agree with me," he said, in a jibe at the treasury benches....