400 NIT students scramble to leave Srinagar after overnight advisory
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday began evacuation of non-local students from National Institute of Technology Srinagar (NIT), a day after the administration asked Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave Valley in the wake of terror threat.
In a notice Friday evening, the NIT administration said that the class work in the institute stands suspended till further orders.
“The above notice stands issued in accordance with instructions received from the district administration, Srinagar,” the notice said.
On Saturday morning dozens of NIT students carrying their luggage were seen waiting for buses to ferry them outside the Valley. Around 800 students are enrolled in the NIT and half of them are from different states of the country.
An official at the NIT said that they were asked by the administration that students should be sent home. “The buses were arranged by the administration. We don’t know why this decision has been taken.’’
Since morning students were waiting for the buses. “We were informed to leave the Valley. Now we are waiting for the buses,” said an NIT student from Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the administration was making arrangements to ferry tourists outside the Valley in buses and by air. Dozens of tourists and yatris were waiting outside the Tourist reception centre in Srinagar looking for means of transport to leave the Valley. Officials said that government has also arranged buses to move tourists to the Srinagar airport and Jammu. Many tourists paid extra money for air tickets to get out of Kashmir.
Ravi Khanna from Rajasthan who had arrived in Valley two days ago had to cut short his visit after the government’s advisory on Friday. “Soon after the advisory was issued I decided to leave the Valley. I got air ticket on a higher price. Apparently situation looks normal but we can’t ignore the advisory.”
A hotelier in old city told Hindustan Times that 10 tourists left his hotel early in the morning. “They (tourists) left for Jammu. The police also asked us to inform tourists to leave Kashmir as there is threat to them,” he said.
The administration’s evacuation notice for outsiders has riled locals, including Srinagar’s mayor Junaid Azim Mattu.
“Tourists being asked to vacate houseboats in Dal Lake, Yatris asked to leave, non-local students being evacuated from NIT, Srinagar —- what “security advisory” could possibly merit this mass evacuation of everyone but local Kashmiris? How is this being passed as normal?’’ Mattu tweeted.
On Friday Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra said the advisory was issued in the wake of threat to Amarnath yatra. “There was input about serious threat to the yatra so advisory was issued to yatris many of whom are also tourists. All the top officials from the government including Governor Satya Pal Malik have already made it clear that there is nothing to panic. We are here to serve and secure our people and we will do it. We issued advisory only because tourists and yatris are non-locals and they don’t know the exact routes in case of any exigency.’’
Meanwhile there are reports that an all-party meet of various political parties could be held in Srinagar either today or on Sunday. Late last night Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehboba Mufti met her National Conference counterpart Farooq Abdullah at his residence. She also held meeting with Sajjad Lone, Imran Ansari and former IAS officer Shah Faesal.
Also National Conference delegation led by Omar Abdullah will be meeting Governor Malik in the afternoon. “Will be taking a delegation of @JKNC_colleagues to meet Governor Malik at 12 noon today #Kashmir,’’ Omar tweeted.