SRINAGAR: Yet another ‘charter of demands’ by agitating non-local NIT students – 19 new demands, to be precise – submitted to the ministry of human resource and development in New Delhi on Tuesday, has raised questions about the intent behind the protests the students have been holding since March 31.
Initially, the agitating students demanded action against Kashmiri students who celebrated India’s defeat against West Indies in a T20 match, and additional security for themselves. They added three more demands, which included shifting NIT to elsewhere in India and action against police when they formally submitted a list to the three-member-MHRD team.
Despite most of the demands being met, the agitating students fled to New Delhi where they submitted another list of demands on Tuesday.
The students, mostly non-Kashmiris, in the new list, have dropped their main demands of shifting NIT from Srinagar and action against the state police. Instead, they have included additional demands, which mostly are about administrative reforms.
The new demands, among others, include opening a multipurpose food and fruit centre, formation of a Students’ Council, option of outside evaluation of exam marksheets reimbursement of medical bills of injured students by the college authorities and hoisting of the Indian flag by the Indian Prime Minister on the campus.
“We the students of NIT Srinagar, respect your decision that NIT cannot be shifted to any other part of India, as Kashmir is an integral part of India and shifting it would send a wrong signal to the world. To continue our study effectively at the campus we request the MHRD that we have the following points which must be fulfilled immediately with written assurances and deadlines,” reads the list, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader.
A top official of NIT, wishing anonymity, told Kashmir Reader that “demands they started the agitation with were not genuine in the first place. When they realised it, they added administrative issues to it. Now, for the third time, they have added additional demands which neither were in the stated issues nor were reported to us before the agitation. A reasonable person would never do it.”
An agitating student, who is now back in the campus after she fled, told Kashmir Reader that they added the new demands only after the police rained batons on them. “It escalated because of the lathi charge of police on us otherwise we had no inkling about the new demands, although they are genuine,” she said.
On Thursday, the institute said it would consider some of these demands, including formation of a students’ council and that all national festivals would be celebrated in the institute, as well as to allow optional external evaluation for recent exams.