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J&K: Classes Suspended in Srinagar Colleges After Fresh row Over Controversial Post

The NIT Srinagar administration has announced an early winter break for students from Thursday and instructed students to vacate the hostels.

Srinagar: Academic activities in two Srinagar colleges, including in the National Institute of Technology (NIT), where a non-local student was booked for allegedly posting hateful content against Prophet Muhammad, remained suspended on Thursday following the row over the incident. 

Classwork and all examinations were suspended at NIT Srinagar after students carried out protest rallies in the campus in the wake of the controversy. Similar protests were held by students from Srinagar’s Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Hawal and the Amar Singh College of Arts demanding action against the student involved in the alleged provocation. 

“The classwork of all the semesters and internal examinations, including T-series shall remain off today (30-11-2023) and will be rescheduled w.e.f tomorrow 01-12-2023.” a communique issued by the Principal of Islamia College read. 

Tension peaked inside the campuses, especially at the engineering college in Hazrat Bal where authorities heightened security cover around the college to thwart any further escalation of the situation. 

The incident at the engineering college, which has sizable non-local students, has triggered fresh concerns amongst many, including the authorities and local population. Many, including the political leadership, condemned the incidents stating that it could lead to deterioration of the already volatile situation.

The college administration has announced an early winter break for students from Thursday and instructed students to vacate the hostels. 

“Pursuant to declaration of Winter Vacation for Students w.e.f. 30.11.2023 vide order No. 60 of 2023 issued under endorsement No. NIT/S/R/23/600 dated 30.11.2023 all hostel boarders (Boys and Girls) are instructed to vacate the hotels with immediate effect,” an order from NIT’s Dean Students Welfare read. 

Denouncing what he termed as “disrespectful comments” made against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by the student at NIT, senior Jammu and Kashmir spokesperson Gagan Bhagat urged the police to take serious action against the accused.

“We the residents of J&K respect all religions, and those who are disturbing the peaceful atmosphere here in Jammu and Kashmir have only one agenda i.e  Divide and Rule,” he wrote on X. 

As the protests unfolded, the Jammu and Kashmir Police took the cognizance of the incident that many claimed hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community and booked the student under FIR No.156/23 under section 295A, 153A, 153 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The police, however, later issued a further advisory against social media users directing them to refrain from sharing provocative and inappropriate content from their handles and pages.

The incident was reported after at least seven Kashmiri students from the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) were booked for allegedly cheering for Australia during the recent ICC World Cup Cricket Final played on November 19. 

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (JKPDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its "oppressive tactics" in Kashmir, saying that they are a reflection of the party's deep insecurities and its realisation of its failures in the region.

 "The only way to bring about lasting peace in J&K is through reconciliation and meaningful engagement that honors the dignity of the people of J&K. The Jackboot approach and attempts to silence the aspiration of people by suppression and muzzling of the people hasn't worked in the past and bound to fail now. As is evident, even after almost 8 decades of accession, Delhi looks at Kashmiris with suspicion,” Mufti said during a party rally at South Kashmir.

The former Chief minister also called for calm in the backdrop of the NIT incident. “Students whether from they are from NIT or SKUAST should be given a second chance so that their future is not ruined,” she argued.

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