April 7:Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has called for closure of NIT Srinagar for couple of week to “cool tempers” and resolution of the issue.
Omar said that a wrong precedent had been set by deploying central forces inside the NIT campus and bringing special teams from HRD ministry.
“We tend to take these things out of proportions. Campus skirmishes are not unheard of, and as with JNU, the matter should have been left to the institute authorities to resolve. By bringing in extraneous elements, both security and administrative, we have created a situation with its own dynamics where politicians and wannabe politicians are now getting in,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
He said such “to-and-fro exchanges” were not unheard of in the past after cricket matches, especially between India and Pakistan, referring to confrontations over the India-West Indies match.
“… and the authorities have resolved it. By making these happenings at NIT a massive story, and having central forces and special teams from HRD ministry brought in, we have set a wrong precedent,” he said.
“My bigger worry is about Kashmiri students in other parts of the country. Will we see calls to governors and CMs from the union home minister, PMO getting involved, HRD ministry sending special teams, CRPF being deployed when Kashmiri students are harassed elsewhere? In Rajasthan recently, it were the Kashmiri kids who were instead arrested on charges of eating meat. How do you justify this uneven response for Kashmiri students and for non-Kashmiri students?” asked Omar.
He feared for an “open season on Kashmiri students in different campuses outside Kashmir.”
“We have already seen students being arrested in Rajasthan; we have also had profiling and dossiers of Kashmiri students being prepared in West Bengal. Who knows what else will happen now?”
He suggested that the government needed to get a grip on the situation. “… and cooler heads should prevail. Let the authorities close NIT for a couple of weeks, get the hostels vacate and let tempers calm down. This is not unique. Such options have been exercised earlier so that things settle down,” he said when asked for a solution.
Omar said that replacing J&K police with CRPF had sent out a message that J&K police can’t be trusted to provide security to non-state subjects.
“While it is OK for CRPF to thrash locals in Kashmir, students from outside Kashmir are very different for J&K police actions. Ideally, J&K police should have been complemented and supplemented by CRPF, and not replaced by it,” said Omar.