Irani rejects outstation students call to shift NIT

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NEW DELHI: A delegation of students from NIT-Srinagar, accompanied by ABVP leaders, met HRD Minister Smriti Irani for two hours Wednesday. 

During the meeting, the minister agreed to facilitate external evaluation of the final exam answer scripts for students fearing discrimination by the institute’s resident faculty.

This option, the minister is learnt to have clarified, will be available only to those who request the Centre for external evaluation in writing.

“Just like they requested us in writing to facilitate their safe journey back home, we would also want them to ask for external evaluation in writing. Only then will the government arrange for teachers from other NITs across the country to check their papers,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

The NIT-Srinagar is at present conducting its final examination. However, about one-third of the undergraduate students have opted to return home for a short break and take the exam at a later date. Over 1,000 students from other states left the institute this week, claiming that they felt unsafe on the campus.

The delegation also reiterated the demand to shift NIT out of Srinagar, which Irani rejected.

“She said that Srinagar was a part of our country, and the Centre would never agree to shift the NIT campus out,” said Ankit Pandey, a third-year student, who met the minister Wednesday.

He added that the minister agreed to bear the medical expenses of all students who were injured in police lathicharge on campus. She also agreed to look into allegations of bias among NIT’s resident faculty.

“She said she’ll set up an inquiry into the matter and if any teacher is found guilty of wrongdoing, appropriate action will be taken against them. She said that the government would expedite the process of appointing permanent faculty at the institute,” said Saket Bahuguna, national media convenor of the ABVP, who was also present in the meeting.

Earlier in the day, the delegation also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS in Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh.

Trouble had started at the NIT-Srinagar campus over local students clashing with outstation students after India’s loss to the West Indies in the T20 World Cup semifinal.

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