It has been unfortunate the way things have happened in the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar. Over the last few days, with it being portrayed in some quarters as local (meaning Kashmiris and not Dogra nor Ladakhis) versus non-local clash.
Surprise, surprise! NIT Srinagar is not the exclusive preserve of Kashmiris. Its name is not Exclusive Kashmiri Institute of Technology (EKIT), but NIT and has the word national in it. The admission to this Institute happens at the National level, and not in the Hurriyat office at Rajbagh in Srinagar.
It was till very recently a state government institution and had the government wanted it to be exclusively meant for state subjects it could have done so. The government could have refused to have it upgraded to the level of a national institute but it did not.
The Centre proactively made efforts to have this institution, previously a regional engineering college (REC) upgraded to the level of a national institution. This means all the monies being spent here are being provided by the Central government, and the outflow is not from state coffers.
There are students here from all over India, coming here to study, from various parts. There can be a Malayali, as also a Punjabi. Someone from Nagaland as also from Assam.
Among a fairly large group of students, there is a fear psychosis as to what may happen to them. That should never have been the case. Fostering goodwill towards everyone is essential. No?
Anyone mildly wise can think of the consequences of the present issue being made into a local versus non-local students.
Kashmiri students study all over India, and beyond. Should a fear psychosis prevail among Kashmiri students studying all over India too?
It has been narrated that non-local (non-Kashmiri) students constitute an absolute majority here of 75:25. Is it a very case that NIT Srinagar has been singled out for these numbers? Or is it the story of all NIT campuses. Check anywhere, the locals are always lesser in number at any NIT.
By the way, Srinagar NIT is the last choice of any sane parents from elsewhere in India. All over India. Why? Simply because it is located at a place which is considered volatile. No (non-local) parent is at peace while his or her son, or daughter, is studying at NIT Srinagar.
This being so, it is no surprise that some people tell their children routinely to forgo seats if the venue is Srinagar NIT.
Some minds are at work here, divisive minds at that, in creating a situation like Srinagar NIT all over the state. That is a setback for Kashmiris as they stand to lose everywhere, across India.
We are still reeling under the aftermath of February 9 unfortunate events at JNU. The NIT Srinagar has added political message to their vocabulary, with a vengeance.