NIT Row: Back loggers—The Real Trouble Mongers

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Srinagar: As the situation at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar is beginning to limp back to normalcy, sources close to Kashmir Observer on Saturday revealed that the turmoil at the campus did not result out of some Kashmiri students ‘rejoicing’ the defeat of Indian cricket team by West Indies in the World Cup T20 but had an entirely a different background. 

“There’re a lot of nonlocal students mostly from the third year batch whose academic performance has not been up to the mark,” said an NIT teacher pleading anonymity. “Some of these students have backlogs in previous semesters which they are unable to pass,” he said.

Some of these students, he said, lied in wait like a tiger in ambush and waited for a perfect opportunity to get the iron hot enough to strike. ”Cricket match was just an excuse as they knew they could exploit it to hilt in their favour,” he said. “They had a full knowledge of the fact how a crisis as that of the JNU row could snowball into a major crisis.”

When India won its match in Mohali against Pakistan some non-Kashmiri students had reportedly burst poppers to celebrate the win and had allegedly shouted slogans which were pretty much ‘offensive’. “Celebrating the win of your favourite team or for that matter India, is okay but why do you need to shout slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Har Har Maha Dev’, Geelani Murda Baad and abuse us, unless you have an ulterior motive behind all this,” a very upset looking final year student, Ra’ees Ahmad (Name changed) said. 

He said when India was defeated by West Indies in the semi-finals, their celebration was a natural reaction. “Cheering for a team that defeated India is a routine affair in the campus and within a few hours, everything would be back to normal but witnessing the scenes that unfolded this time over, is pretty unprecedented.”

Ra’ees who was caught in the thick of action on April Fool’s day, said the way the administration behaved straightaway benefitted the non-local students. “Police is police, they know nothing but thrashing people right, left and centre, something we have been watching for a very long time now,” he said. “Police fired smoke shells and lathi-charged us inside the campus. More than a hundred non-Kashmiri students were injured in the police action of which five had a fracture. Unfortunately, all the injured students were non-Kashmiri.”

The back loggers, the teacher said, saw this whole saga a golden opportunity for them to get the papers cleared without appearing in the examination. “When they met the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, they raised unjustified demands like shifting the campus to a ‘safer’ place preferably to Jammu just because they want to earn their degrees without sitting in the examination,” he said. “Their design is to create a soft corner for themselves so that they would be treated as some kind of national heroes or martyrs, something that sells like hot cakes in India.”

The teacher while coming down heavily on the police action said that the lack of wisdom on the part of administration worsened the situation further. “The J&K police force comprises mostly personnel from the backward areas who cannot differentiate between a normal rioter and a student,” he said. “The situation needed a tactful approach which unfortunately was totally absent from the day one.”

“For long now, Jammu and Kashmir police lacks the fundamental ability to maintain law and order within civilian areas as most of its personnel is used to fight the militancy,” he added. 

“The addition of Indian media to the scene was the final nail in the coffin, “he said. “Their sensational reportage is biased and laced with hatred for Kashmiris resulting in the snowballing of a small cubical of ice into an ice-berg.”

He flayed the reports in which a section of the Indian media had so miserably been irresponsible that they blamed Kashmiri students of threatening their female colleagues with rape.

“I have been coming here for the past three years now and I strike a better chord with most of my college mates including Kashmiris,” said a second year student, Geetanjali Sharma(Name changed). “I even go to my friend’s house and stay there for nights together. I trust my friend’s brothers like my own and they treat me like their own sister. They have even visited our house at Delhi.”

Geetanjali did not refute the claim that some non-local students who have had backlogs are behind all the trouble. “Not all the students come here with a purpose to study,” she said. “In every educational institution, you will find students not taking their studies seriously.”

She, however, said the campus atmosphere is pretty much ‘unpleasant’ here which adds up to the frustrations here. “You’d see campuses outside Kashmir more lively with free intermixing of boys and girls, something which is not seen here,” Geetanjali said. “Naturally, someone coming from Delhi or Jammu finds the campus environment here a little boring which might have prompted them to raise the demand for shifting the campus outside Kashmir.” 

Meanwhile, the demand for shifting the NIT out of Kashmir has been out rightly rejected by the HRD ministry officials. The sources said the ministers and HRD officials, however, assured the students that their genuine demands like better amenities inside the campus and improving the academic atmosphere will be addressed.

 

Attack on Kashmir students exposes BJP’s double standards

Expressing deep anguish over the repeated assaults on Kashmiri students studying in different parts of India, renowned human rights activist and civil society member Gautam Navlakha Saturday said that such incidents expose the ‘utter hypocrisy’ of RSS back BJP Government in New Delhi.

Navlakha said that it is irony that self-styled spokesperson of BJP Subramanium Swami has been threatening Kashmiri students openly and the party instead of initiating action is encouraging him. “Police beat him non-local students in Srinagar and they (BJP) collectively take a serious note of it while the same party acts as ostrich when goons attack and assault Kashmiri students in Jammu, Rajhstan and other states. This is utter hypocrisy on part of Bhartiya Janata Party,” he said.

He said pseudo nationalistic forces including certain Indian media houses have started labeling Jammu and Kashmir Police anti-national just for the reason they stopped non-local students from indulging in lawlessness at NIT Srinagar. “Why these elements maintain silence when the same police force flex muscles on the people of Kashmir. Local police in Jammu and Kashmir should introspect and stop harassing and using force on the people of Kashmir particularly youth there,” Navlakha said.

 “We have always been critic of Jammu Kashmir Police. Their actions against people of Kashmir are always unwarranted. Now this institution is being criticized by their own supporters and it vindicates our stand,” Navlakha said adding that India wants to impose its authority over Kashmir by hook or crook.

 

KPs in solidarity with assaulted Kashmiri students

The ink hasn’t even dried on reports about anger, anxiety and a sense of being beleaguered felt by students at NIT-Srinagar, and we are already confronted with news reports that, in retaliation, some Kashmiri students were harassed and reportedly beaten up in Vyas Dental College in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

According to the news report in the national daily Hindustan Times:

“A group of Kashmiri students has said they were assaulted in Jodhpur’s Vyas Dental College on Thursday evening in an alleged backlash against the attack on “non-local” boys studying at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT) three days ago. Around 30 people armed with knives, iron rods and sticks attacked Kashmiri students at the annual cultural event of the private college, the group told HT on Friday. “Local students and outsiders, who had their face covered, chanted Pakistan Murdabad slogans and looked for Kashmiri students at the function. They beat up every Kashmiri they found,” one of the Kashmiri students said.

We, as Kashmiri Pandits, are distressed about this politics of hate and revenge. Our first reaction is: Have we lost our mind? Where are we heading with this kind of brazen brutality?

Before this unfortunate incident is used to create communal hysteria and detrimental sentiments and further this cycle of violence, we want to tell the people and especially students across the country to refrain from attacking Kashmiri Muslim students. We urge them not to mentally or physically harass Kashmiri students under any circumstance.

We also want to ask the culpable students of Rajasthan what Kashmiri students in Vyas Dental College have got to do with anything that happened in NIT-Srinagar. The news report does not mention any provocation whatsoever – and even if there was – we want to ask these young men, who seem to be unable to resist primal urge for violence, who gave them the right to hurt others? It is tragic that by resorting to cowardly behavior of intimidating and harming a minuscule group of non-local Kashmiri students they have besmirched Rajasthan’s legacy of valor and righteousness. They must realise they are being used to feed off sectarian violence.

We also want to tell our fellow Kashmiri students in Rajasthan that we empathize with them in their hour of distress and that we are in solidarity with them. We will fight for your right to education anywhere in India without any fear of violence looming over your head.

We urge our countrymen not to allow any Kashmiri student be hurt in any corner of the country, to desist from hate mongering and to prevent any such violent occurrence.

We make an appeal to the authorities to be vigilant against purveyors of hate and take utmost preventive steps at every educational institution where Kashmiri students study, so that these unsavoury incidents do not happen.

At this moment, we stand in solidarity with all Kashmiri students studying at various educational institutions across the country. We trust our fellow citizens will not allow such incidents to recur and protect them as their own children. (Courtesy thewire.in)

 

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