NIT Row: ‘A Pretext To Flare Up Communal Fire in Kashmir’

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Srinagar:   Reacting to the malicious propaganda unleashed by a section of national media with a design to malign Kashmiris, a group of local students from National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar Friday alleged that some reporters from India based news channels have been ‘inciting’ non-local students for violence. 

They urged the authorities to force media channels to vacate from the main gate of the Institute.

“Some Delhi and Mumbai based reporters call non-local students from their cell phones and ask them to march towards main gate. They do it to show that non-local students continue to protest against local police. Even some non-local students are not happy with the present mess and they just want peace in the Institute,” students said.

 “We appeal authorities to ask these media oulets to vacate from the main gate of the campus. Once, they vacate, peace will prevail,” they said.

These students alleged that some non-local students on Friday tried to march towards main gate on the behest of a camera crew. “Have they flown from New Delhi to disturb the peace here? We fail to understand what message they want to convey to the people across India,” a local student said.

According to a local reporter working for a Delhi based news channel, most of the news channels bypassed their Kashmir based reporters and these channels dispatched their reporters to Kashmir from many parts of India. “Can you believe it an English news channel has sent two reporters to Kashmir who are camping outside NIT. An issue of trivial importance has unnecessarily been blown out of proportion,” he said.

According to well placed Sources the news channels like Times Now, NDTV, News X, India TV and ABP all have bypassed their local reporters. “The outside state reporters of these channels are stationed outside NIT Srinagar to report what they call in a ‘fair and unbiased’ manner,” sources added.

“I was shocked to see a report by a correspondent of Mail Today, Siddhartha Rai, who has written so malicious a report that it is enough to stir up the communal tension,” said a student, Waseem Ahmad. “In the report, this journalist has written that local students have threatened non-local girl students with rape.”

“What happened in the campus is a temporary flare-up of emotions which would have died on its own but the irresponsible Indian media is hell bent to keep the embers burning,” he said.

This is not the first time that people in Kashmir have revelled in the defeat of Indian cricket team and it is surely not going to be the last. However, what is worrying is the fact that this time around it seems to have taken a dangerous communal turn. 

“During the 2014 floods, when the NIT campus was inundated, it  it was not the Arnob Goswamis or Anupam Khers who rescued the non-local students,” said another student, Rameez Ahmad. “It was the local students of Kashmir Universitywho made arrangements for them.”

“The Arnobs, Khers and others will do a great favour to all by shutting their mouth and letting the students resolve this issue among themselves amicably,” he said.

The issue being blown out-of-the-proportion is dangerous not only for the institution but also for the state at large,” Prof Nasir Mirza, head of Media Education and Research Centre, Kashmir University, said. “It should have been sorted by students themselves or at the most with some amount of mediation by administration.”

Mirza said media has a constructive role to play to let the tempers cool down rather than help in flaring the passions. “The local and the national media should ensure the institution of journalism is not harmed by irresponsible reportage,” Mirza said. “Let the issue die its natural death. The students—local and non-local—should sit together, talk to each other and behave like friends. This is the time weather in Kashmir is getting finer by the day, so forget the differences and enjoy your studies and stay. Taking out processions on such an insignificant issue and then turning it into a communal crisis does not make sense.”

“The real issue is that when you militarise the police force this is the result you get,” a journalist wrote in a recent write-up. “For long now, the police has been at the forefront to fight militancy, whereas elsewhere in the world the police is meant to maintain law and order within civilian areas. Jammu and Kashmir police is no favoured name among most Kashmiris, and the present crisis is only proving them right.”

“The way the MHRD has rushed in the team to Srinagar and the way the Union government has intervened has not only complicated the issue, but also raised doubts about the local government, which is already struggling to establish its presence among the Kashmiri people. Over the last year or so, there has been a number of incidents in universities outside the Valley where Kashmiri students faced attacks by local students as well as the university administration,” the author wrote.

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