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Tension mounted at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) campus here as agitating outstation students refused to cooperate with a visiting central team demanding immediate action against some NIT officials who allegedly indulged in “anti-national” activities.

smriti irani NIT
(Image: ANI/Twitter)

A three-member team of Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry, which arrived here this morning, held talks with the agitating students to defuse the tension.

The team included Sanjeev Sharma, Director (Technical Education) in the HRD ministry, Deputy Director Finance Fazal Mehmood and Chairman of Board of Governors of NIT M J Zarabi.

The team was rushed by the ministry to take stock of the situation and look into the grievances of the outstation students studying at the NIT Srinagar.

In Surat, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said she had spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who assured her that safety of all students will be ensured.

“My officers are in touch with the agitating students and their family members. One or two students said they wanted to go back home for which my ministry is making arrangements,” she said.

Mehbooba has assured that an enquiry has been ordered into the clashes inside the NIT campus, Irani said.

She sought to allay apprehensions of the students who feared that the agitation will have a bearing on their academic performance as exams are due to start next week.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, campaigning in West Bengal for assembly polls, said that he had spoken to Mehbooba who gave an assurance that all students are safe and she would enquire how the incident happened and fix responsibility.

The agitating students demanded that some of the NIT officials should be transferred and action taken against them for their alleged “anti-national” activities and that they be allowed to daily hoist national tri-colour at the main gate.

They also demanded shifting of the campus to Jammu and building of a temple inside campus.

Tension started brewing inside the NIT campus, located at the banks of famous Dal lake, last week after India lost to West Indies in semi-final in the T-20 cricket tournament prompting some local students to rejoice and burst crackers. This was protested by the outstation students resulting in clashes.

Since March 31 night, the situation inside the campus has been volatile and the authorities had posted personnel from Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB). The local police was manning the main gate of the institute.

The developments prompted the NIT authorities to close the campus on Saturday but reopened it on Monday. Last evening, the outstation students tried to march out of the campus saying they wanted to return to their homes.

A senior police official, who attempted to pacify them, was heckled and pushed around resulting in a mild lathicharge in which four students sustained injuries.