With the Government having ruled out shifting NIT Srinagar following the recent unrest, outstation students today demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi or HRD Minister Smriti Irani visit the campus and hoist the tricolour to instill a sense of security. In a letter to Irani, the students have placed a set of 19 demands, including permanent deployment of CRPF on the campus, reshuffle of college administration, formation of Students’ Council, option of outside evaluation of exam marksheets and celebration of national festivals at the institute. The letter was presented to HRD officials today.
“We request either the Hon’ble minister of HRD or the Prime Minister of India to come with students to NIT Srinagar and hoist full size Tiranga in the campus at its highest mast. This will end the leave taken by students and also give them a sense of security.
“This will reiterate the message that Kashmir is an integral part of India and students will have a psychological win over the anti-national elements in the campus as well as outside,” the students wrote in the letter.
The students have also demanded an enquiry against “suspects” in the recent incidents of violence on the campus and sought reimbursement of medical bills of injured students by the college authorities. A group of nearly a dozen students’ representatives presented the demands during a nearly 3-hour meeting where NIT Srinagar Director Rajat Gupta and Director in the HRD ministry Sanjeev Sharma were also present.
Last week, the students had met HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who ruled out shifting of NIT campus but assured support in academic matters. “We have presented our demands and hope that the ministry will take action to create a suitable environment,” said Swayam, a student, who was part of the delegation, after the meeting. NIT Srinagar has been at the centre of a controversy since April 1 when clashes broke out between outstation and local students following India’s defeat to West Indies in the World Cup T20 semi-final.
The situation worsened on April 5 when outstation students tried to take out a march outside the campus but were stopped by the police, leading to incidents of violence including vandalism by students and lathicharge by police. Significantly, the students’ call for hoisting the tricolour came after Irani, while rejecting the demand for shifting the campus last week, had said Srinagar was an integral parts of India, it is learnt.
Meanwhile, sources in the HRD Ministry said they were favourablly inclined to consider the demand for outside evaluation of students in this particular case and certain other demands like modifications to the grievance cell of the Institute. Asked about the demand to hold enquiries against staff or others, an official said no formal complaint has been made in this regard.
The NIT students have also demanded that college administration be reshuffled and restructured by introducing a cadre system. They have sought 50 per cent of administrative posts to be filled up with those from outside and the rest from the state. The students have also sought reimbursement from the institute of expenses incurred on their “circumstantial travel” when they left the campus following tension.
NIT Srinagar should have collaboration with leading PSU companies and few core MNCs regarding placements and training, the students have demanded, saying J&K has a disadvantage in this regard. They have also demanded that a top NIT mentor NIT Srinagar, besides setting up of an online grievance redressal mechanism exclusively for the institute to monitored by HRD Ministry.
The students have sought regular visits by HRD officials with regard to fulfilling demands related to infrastructure apart from a high level enquiry into the utilisation of funds since it was upgraded from Regional Engineering College to NIT