Srinagar: Local students at National Institute of Technology (NIT) have opposed most of the demands of outstation students, including that for permanent presence of central security forces, saying it will make the campus vulnerable to disturbance.
In a memorandum to the team of Union HRD Ministry, the local students said the demand for permanent presence of central security forces at the institute can make it vulnerable to disturbances owing to political events outside the campus.
"We are all aware of the volatile nature of Kashmir region. Presence of central security or armed security forces of any type will only make the campus (and subsequently, its students) vulnerable to disturbance owing to political events outside college," the memorandum reads.
"Let's make this very clear. They are demanding the presence of armed security on the grounds of an educational institute. This is not acceptable here, or anywhere in the world. In the past, security forces used to reside in the hostel. This set a tone of hostility and fear amongst every student and parent," they said.
The local students recalled the widespread protests across Kashmir in 2008 and 2010, saying not a single outstation student was harmed during these incidents.
Tension started brewing inside the NIT campus last week after India lost to West Indies in semi-final in the T-20 cricket tournament prompting some local students to rejoice and burst crackers. This led to protest by outstation students resulting in clashes.
On the allegation of academic harassment of outstation students, the local students said the demand was not only "disrespectful" to the teachers at NIT but also the HRD ministry which selects them.
"This demand comes as a surprise. The academic section has the award rolls of the current students and the years before. Taking a look at those records, a fair number of the toppers are non-locals. This reinforces that in NIT Srinagar, the only requirement to succeed is merit and hard work. They have never been academically harassed before and will never be in the future.''
"This allegation is disrespectful to our teachers and by that extension, MHRD which selects them," the local students said.
The local students also opposed formation of basic student councils, saying the current situation was "already sensitive".
"There is a growing divide between different groups within the college. The formation of councils, unions, and bringing politics into the scene will only exacerbate these divides," they added.
The students said the NIT Srinagar has always been a "tightly-knit community".
"We have always been great hosts to the students who come here from outside. We do our best to make them feel at home, and can assure you without an iota of doubt, that we will continue to do so. Our hands are always extended," they said in the memorandum.
In a letter to the management of NIT Srinagar, the outstation students had listed five demands that, they feel, would enable them to peacefully reside at the campus and concentrate on their studies.