HYDERABAD: Panic-stricken students of the National Institute of Technology-Srinagar, hailing from Telangana, are on their way back home, thanks to the timely intervention of the State government.
Following the security advisory from the Central government directing all tourists and pilgrims to leave the Valley immediately, NIT-Srinagar issued a notice to suspend all academic activities until further orders, and asked all students to vacate the campus.
By Saturday morning, as many as 135 students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, packed into four buses, were en-route to their native places, thanks to a prompt response by the Telangana government.
The students were left in the lurch when they were told late on Friday that they had to leave the campus by 6.30 am. With nowhere to go, several of them took to social media and tweeted TRS working president KT Rama Rao, seeking his help to get home safe. Some students also sought help from Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay and senior Congress leader Ponnam Prabhakar.
Responding to the SOS messages, KTR on Saturday promised to help them return safe. He also tweeted the contact number of Vedantam Giri, the resident commissioner of Telangana Bhavan in Delhi, urging students to approach him for assistance.
Giri, in turn, said he was making arrangements with officials from J&K for the students to reach Delhi, and from there, to proceed home. Speaking to Express from Srinagar, Adnan Qayoum, dean, Students Welfare, NIT-Srinagar, said that all students were evacuated from the campus.
“We are in touch with the students, and to ensure their safety, a couple of faculty members are accompanying them on the bus till Jammu. Outstation students were ferried in the buses provided by the State government. From Jammu, their respective State governments have made travel arrangements,” he said.
From Jammu, three buses have been arranged to take the students to Delhi, from where their tickets to their hometowns have also been arranged for by the authorities.
The official, however, was not aware why the students were evacuated, or when classes would resume.
The students, who had just returned to the institute after 40-day summer vacation (June 24-August 1), were terrified when they were informed by their wardens that they had to vacate the campus the following morning.
“Our biggest concern was how to get home without any transport arrangements or reservations in place. So we reached out to KTR, Bandi Sanjay and Ponnam Prabhakar. They were responsive, and in a jiffy, all arrangements were made,” said B Shriya, a student and native of Karimnagar.
Neha Lakshmi, another student, said that though the atmosphere on the campus was not tense, the number of security personnel had been increased.
“We were told that were being sent back home for security reasons. It is good that they decided to keep our safety in mind and are sending us home before any tension erupts,” she said and added that the government has been prompt in making arrangements.
Though transport and food were taken care of by the government, some students complained of motion sickness on their way to Jammu.
“My tension will ease only after I get home. This is the first time I’m travelling by road, and this terrain is dangerous and making me nauseous,” said Pranitha Reddy, a student from Warangal.
Amid fear of attack, devotees and tourists make quick return plans
As the Jammu and Kashmir administration cut short the Amarnath Yatra, pilgrims and tourists from the Telugu States are making arrangements to return home. The Amarnath Annadana Seva Samithi (AASS) of Siddipet, which organises annadanam for South-Indian pilgrims at Baltal, had been told by the Army that there could be “suicide terror” attacks.
“The situation seems calm now, though tension prevailed as tourists were in a rush to return,” Aitha Ratnakar, who manages the free-meals scheme, told Express, adding that his eight-member team reached the Srinagar airport five hours ahead of their scheduled departure. About five per cent of devotees on the last day of the Amarnath Yatra were Telugu-speaking people, he said
To proceed home from Jammu
“Students were ferried on buses; from Jammu (too), the respective State governments have made travel arrangements,” said Adnan Qayoum, dean, Students Welfare, NIT-Srinagar.