SRINAGAR: For the third day, protests by outstation students continued at the NIT here today even as the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered a time-bound probe into the clashes that took place at the campus on last Friday and Tuesday, regarding which two FIRs were also filed.
Some outstation students staged a protest march within the campus demanding shifting of the institute from Kashmir besides action against policemen involved in lathicharge on them on Tuesday. The protesters, who included girl students, were chanting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", officials said.
As tension prevailed, state police chief K Rajendra Kumar visited the campus to take stock of the situation.
This was the third day of protests by outstation students who have also accused some faculty members of harassment and demand their resignation so that "they do not play with any student's career".
Faculty members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were shocked at the allegations levelled against them.
"The allegations are shocking. Just check the records and you will see outstation students have been doing better atexaminations. If anything, we have been generous with them," a faculty member said.
He, however, said the faculty will not compromise on the standards of this prestigious institute.
"We cannot pass even those who are mediocre in studies. The minimum standards have to be upheld," he said.
The Union HRD Ministry, which rushed three-member team of officials here yesterday, said students will have an option to appear for the exams later. The exams are beginning on April 11 and will be held as scheduled, the ministr officials said.
Meanwhile, the state gvernment today ordered a time-bound inquiry into the clashes that have taken place at the campus.
"We have instituted an inquiry to go into the incidents at the NIT," Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh told reporters here.
He said Additional District Magistrate of Srinagar will conduct the inquiry and submit his report within 15 days.
"We will resolve this issue at the earliest," Singh said.
Asked about his controversial comment that students were subjected to 'mild lathicharge', Singh said his statement at that time was based on information he had received.
He said the state government will ensure the personal as well as academic security of the students at the NIT.
Police also has registered two separate FIRs regarding the incidents of the violence that took place on NIT Srinagar campus on last Friday and Tuesday.
The first FIR was registered against unknown persons for the clashes between outstation and local students on April 1, a day after India lost to West Indies in the semi-final of the World T20 Cup.
The police has invoked sections 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief), 336 (endangering life of others) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) for the clashes between local and outstation students that took place on Friday, a police official said.
In the second FIR registered on April 5, the police, besides slapping the charges of the previous FIR, has added sections 353 (assault on public servant) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
While no one has been named in the two FIRs yet, the official said police is investigating the video evidence of the violence that took place on the days of incidents.
Police also released video clippings showing non-local students attacking the cops with stones and damaging property at the campus.
The video, shot on Tuesday when trouble restarted in the campus, shows a large number of non-local students protesting against the NIT administration and trying to march towards the main gate of the campus.
The students, some of them masked, are seen carrying iron rods and stones. Some of the students threw stones at Jammu and Kashmir Police and many buildings of the campus resulting in damage to many window panes.
They are also seen vandalizing the property at the campus, including damaging a private car of an administrative official, after which the security forces resorted to baton charge to disperse the protesting students.
Meanwhile, a group of non-local girl students today said their fight was against the administration and the issue should not be given a political or religious colour.
"Our issue was not to incite the tempers. We all want justice. We are just fighting against our administration and we are not fighting on religious issues. So please don't make it a religious issue," said a girl student at the NIT in a video message.
"We neither want a temple to be built here nor do we want to demolish a mosque. We only want justice on what happened to our friends and don't make it a political or religious issue," said another girl said in the video.
They said the non-local students were not against the local students but wanted justice for their friends who, they alleged, were beaten by the police on Tuesday.
"They (the administration) is saying (that) the situation is normal. Only 10 per cent of the students are going to the classes and 90 per cent are boycotting. Is this situation called normal? We are not against the locals, we are really not against them.
"All we want is the justice for our friends who were brutally beaten by the police," the girl said.
As the crisis continued, Rahul Gandhi attacked the BJP-PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir, accusing it of using "brute" force against NIT students in Srinagar.
"Strongly condemn lathicharge on #NITSrinagar students. When will BJP &allies learn that brute force against students can never be a solution," the Congress Vice President tweeted.
With the issue adopting a political dimension, a bandh was organised in Jammu region to protest alleged police high-handedness on outstation students at NIT in Srinagar.
The shutdown was called by various groups, including Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP).