Srinagar: Premier engineering college, National Institute of Technology, Hazratbal was closed on Friday following tensions between local and non-locals students, who clashed in the campus over the Indian cricket team’s defeat by West Indies in the T20 World cup semifinal.
According to reports, trouble started brewing in the campus when non-local students abused their local counterparts on Thursday night for celebrating India’s defeat.
On Friday morning, the non-local students staged a sit-in outside the NIT Director’s office amidst pro-India slogans. They were demanding action against Kashmiri students. However, the situation took a turn for the worse when non-local students tried to assault a teacher for stopping them from damaging college property.
The local students resisted the move and this again raised tempers on both sides. The tiff prompted Kashmiri students to stage a sit-in near the central fountain in the campus.
“A teacher stopped non-local students from damaging college property but the students tried to assault him. It provoked Kashmiri students, who staged a sit-in later,” said an official.
The non-local students also gathered near the fountain and staged a sit-in with one side shouting pro-Pakistan slogans and the other, pro-India ones. Non-local students were also carrying a tri-colour and wanted to hoist it near the fountain, eye witnesses told Kashmir Reader.
Police was called in when the college administration failed to restore peace and discipline in the campus. Police fired tear smoke shells to disperse the students. As the situation worsened, authorities shut the college asking boarders to vacate the hostel.
“In view of the prevailing indiscipline created by students today, the institute is closed till further orders. Students are therefore directed to vacate the hostel,” said an order issued by NIT Registrar Prof FA Mir.
The order said the decision has been taken after the students did not maintain discipline despite repeated requests. “Both local and non-locals have been asked to leave the hostel,” he told Kashmir Reader.
While Kashmiri students vacated the hostel after the authorities allowed them to take their belongings with them, the non-local students were still occupying the hostel when this report was filed.
Around a dozen students were seen roaming around Batamaloo bus yard in the evening on Friday as they were unable to catch a bus to their respective destinations.
Witness told Kashmir Reader that a courier company runner, Imtiyaz Ahmad, a resident of Karan Nagar, Srinagar was beaten and attacked with a knife and blades by non-local students.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir SJM Gilani claimed the situation was under control.