A group of outstation students at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology have asked the government to move them out of the strife-torn Valley with more than 2,600 pupils who left Kashmir after violence broke out in July not returning to campus.
Only 180 of the 2,800 students are present on campus that has been locked down since curfew was clamped across Kashmir following the July 8 killing of top militant Burhan Wani.
Since then, 87 have died and 10,000 injured in widespread clashes across the Valley with tensions rising high. The institute was scheduled to open to July 27 but the date was pushed to October 3.
Students from outside Kashmir say they don’t find the city safe to return and told the administration that their parents aren’t willing to send them back to the institute. The campus was also in the news earlier this year after a scuffle between local and outstation students over a nationalism row involving a cricket match.
The pupils say they have already lost two semesters and anymore time lost will jeopardize their careers. They have written to the Union human resource development ministry, requesting that either they be put in another campus outside Kashmir or the NIT be shifted out of Srinagar.
The HRD ministry and the institute are now looking at ways to reach out to the parents of these students to persuade them to send their children to join classes. The matter will be taken up at the meeting of the board of governors (BoG) of the NIT on October 4, which will also be attended by HRD officials.
“Students are not supposed to come back now because the last date registration for the new semester has been extended to October 3. Moreover, there is a meeting of the board of governors on October 4 and all further decision will be taken in it,” said FA Mir, registrar at NIT Srinagar.
Final year students’ are the worst hit as few classes have taken place this year. “Till now, we would have taken two minor exams before the final in November. But the institute is not functional, so we are at a complete loss,” said a final year student who requested anonymity.
They say even placements are badly hit as companies have refused to come to Srinagar. ”Even though they are facilitating it (by holding it in other campuses), it is not up to the mark,” said the student.
The institute plans to hold extra classes and do away with the winter break to finish courseworkbut students are not impressed. “We are not willing to have classes in the winter as it is very cold and basic facilities are not there,” said a student.
The institute has not been functional since curfew was imposed in the Valley. Sources said the institute and the ministry will have a tough time persuading students to join the institute.
“The date of registration (Oct 3) might get extended further in view of the situation after the BoG meeting on 4th. The 120-odd students returned earlier because of the previous date of registration. Others have not come because they are not required to,” said MA Ahanger, dean of academic affairs.
Sources said the institute is planning to hold interactions with the parents. The HRD ministry said it will ensure the institute reopens on October 3 as the curfew has been lifted.
“A number of them are concerned about their safety in the state and we have already uploaded the entire syllabus on the website so that students are able to study on their own. We will interact with the parents to assure them of safety,” said an official.
(With inputs from Abhishek Saha)