Students who were attacked for opposing anti-India celebrations on NIT Srinagar campus have put forward their list of demands to a team of visiting officials from the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
The team was sent after students were attacked again, this time by Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Police, causing injuries to many – an incident that attracted huge outrage and protest on social media yesterday. CRPF was deployed at the campus after the police action and subsequent outrage.
From their demands, it looks very clear that the students – mostly those from outside the state – are scared for their physical safety and academic career.
Their top demand is to shift the NIT campus out of Srinagar, where they are among people who can be trusted and where they can finish their studies with peace of mind.
Many students, including girl students, revealed that they were abused and threatened for merely shouting pro-India slogans, which were raised to oppose the event celebrating India’s loss to West Indies in the T20 Cricket World Cup.
One girl claimed that locals had even threatened to rape a girl student to ‘teach a lesson’ to entire student community. Death threats were also issued, students told the MHRD team.
Apart from shifting the campus outside Kashmir, the students demanded strict action against the J&K police, especially DSP Sajjad, for beating them up. At least four students are reported to have suffered fracture and one student had to undergo surgery after the lathicharge. Students claimed that the policemen entered hostel rooms and beat up students, not sparing even girls and a physically challenged student.
Students also took strong exception to J&K Deputy Chief Minister using the term “mild lathicharge” for the unprovoked action on them and wanted a retraction of the statement. They claimed that the reports of them pelting stones on police were completely false and a concoction by the police.
“The police have taken our national flag – the tiranga – and we want it back,” a student representative demanded, attracting cheers from the otherwise scared and agitated crowd of students.
Latest reports suggest that the state government has conceded that the police committed excesses, and they have promised action.
However, not only the police and locals, students said that they were scared of the college administration too, which has been threatening them of ‘spoiling their academic career’ if they continued their protests. The college administration allegedly threatened to fail the protesting students and make them complete their 4 year degree course in 6 years.
The students further accused the college administration of banning Facebook and Twitter on campus and not allowing media inside the campus to suppress information.
Students have said that their protests would continue till their top and urgent demand of shifting the campus is met.