NIT development being highlighted as communal incident: Mehbooba

Srinagar: While Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the student unrest at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) a “non-issue”, the deadlock continued on Saturday as talks between the state government and protesting students remained inconclusive.

In a late evening interview to a regional television channel on Friday, the chief minister described the NIT Srinagar developments as a “non-issue being highlighted by certain people as a communal incident”.

Mehbooba Mufti Mehbooba also said she had conveyed the same to the Union Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani when she spoke to her on the development. She also said “a handful of non-local students were keen to migrate to other colleges outside the state”.

The chief minister “appreciated” the statement made by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani who had appealed locals to protect non-local students and calm in the NIT.

Meanwhile, the over five-hour long marathon talks between the state Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and representatives of protesting non-local students remained inconclusive resulting in the continuation of the deadlock.

Singh held talks with seven representatives of non-local students along with state Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, a three-member team of union HRD ministry, director of NIT Srinagar and senior civil and police officers at his official residence in Srinagar.

Singh said most of the demands of the agitating students had been accepted and were told that shifting of the NIT outside the Valley “was out of the question”.

Singh also said that with regard to the students’ demand of action against local policemen, the students were told that a magisterial probe was going on and its findings will determine who needs to be proceeded against the policemen.

The deputy chief minister has, however, allayed the fears of the protesting students that FIRs had been registered against them. “Those FIRs are open and nobody’s name appears in them”, Singh told the agitating students.

NIT officials have confirmed that some injured students have said they wanted to go home and arrangements have been made for this.