NEW DELHI -- Despite promises by the Centre and the state government of Jammu and Kashmir to keep them safe, at least 1000 students have left the National Institute of Technology campus in Srinagar and they are heading back to their homes in different parts of the country.
Somewhere between 1000 to 2000 non-Kashmiri students have left the NIT campus over the past two days, according to media reports, which are carrying different figures.
Over the past ten days, the state government and the Centre have failed to fully defuse the tensions which erupted after Kashmiri students celebrated India's defeat in the semifinal of the T20 cricket tournament on March 30.
The situation turned really ugly when outstation students, who carried out protests and tried to leave the campus on April 1, clashed with the Kashmir police. The students said that they were chased by lathi-wielding policemen who also lobbed teargas at them. Then, personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in the campus to prevent further violence.
Non-Kashmiri students are demanding that the NIT campus be shifted to Jammu because they don't feel safer in Srinagar. Some students are reportedly coming to Delhi to meet with Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani to discuss their problems.
“We feel suffocated here as we are not allowed to go outside or talk to media. We want to get out of campus and do not want to risk our lives to continue with studies,” Srikant Rajwar, a third-year electronics student from Jharkhand, told the Hindustan Times.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she was confident that the students would return to Srinagar. "These are our children. It is our job to provide them security. Confident they will come back, Kashmir is their home," she said.
Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today.
After violence at NIT Srinagar, alleged attacks on Kashmiri students sparked a complete shutdown in 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley.
"Kashmiri students are harassed everywhere in the country. It is a matter of policy to punish and humiliate Kashmiris," said Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front.
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