NIT Srinagar: The BJP was not saving the coalition by not acting

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Puneet Gupta

Only 30% students, mostly locals, took the semester exams yesterday at NIT Srinagar. The administration at NIT Srinagar could have shifted the exams by a little but they did not ‘bow down’ to what was labeled as ‘examination delaying tactics’ by outstation students.

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The BJP at the centre kept itself at a safe distance from the NIT Srinagar row. The state arm did not wish away from the requirements of the centre either. The government swearing-in had happened after the first clashes on March 31 and both the BJP and the PDP needed each other. The first woman Chief Minister was faced with the challenge of handling the situation at NIT Srinagar and called it a non-issue.

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The BJP employed different tactics but most prominently the NIT Srinagar matter was seized before it could turn into a monster. Come to think of it, the BJP had already burned hands first in the Rohith Vemula case at Hyderabad and then in the Umar Khalid case at JNU.

One of this strongest supporter groups in the run upto the thumping 2014 victory of the BJP at the centre was the youth. The Hyderabad University death of a youth followed by the JNU fiasco had just taught the BJP a lesson that it learnt well.

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The HRD ministry could not favour one child (outstation students) fighting with another (local students). As it is, J&K is a ticking bomb of sorts and any miscalculated step could have wreaked havoc in the state with active support brimming in Jammu division calling the outstation students nationalistic. Where was the sense in appeasing non-local students when students from Kashmir studying in all parts of India have been facing violence too? The recent case of Kashmiri students cooking mutton inside a hostel was turned into a case of beef-related thrashing and this has become common.

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Both Anupam Kher and Ashok Pandit were stopped from entering Srinagar and were asked to return. A little over a 100 protesters, part of the Tiranga Yatra that started at New Delhi, were stopped at the Lakhanpur Border, the entry point of J&K.

In a volatile state such as J&K, any controversy can go out of hand before someone can even gauge what materialised. By not playing into the nationalism versus anti-national fever, the Union HRD ministry refused to shift NIT from Srinagar and things began to settle down.

Only locals here from Jammu may speak the truth on why they choose not to take admission in Srinagar colleges for engineering or medicine. There are scores of students who over the years have quit their formal college education midway after not being able to adjust in the ‘environment.’

But the way NIT Srinagar was handled is a clear expression of how the BJP at the centre has had a clearer vision this time with acumen build upon very recent experiences.