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#ChaloNIT: 150 activists from PAN India marching towards NIT Srinagar detained J&K police

A group of 150 activists from 12 states, who were going to meet non-Kashmiri students at NIT Srinagar, have been detained by police in Lakhanpur of Jammu and Kashmir.
India TV News Desk April 10, 2016 12:33 IST
India TV News Desk

New Delhi: A group of 150 activists from 12 states, trying to enter Jammu and Kashmir to express solidarity with protesting non-local students of NIT were stopped by authorities on Sunday and urged them call off the march.

The marchers carrying the national flag entered the state at Lakhanpur in Kathua district to move to the Valley to express solidarity with the protesting students at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar.

District administration officials including the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police (SSP) reached the spot and asked the marchers not to proceed further.

"Without using any force, the officials of the district administration succeeded in persuading the marchers to call off the march," the officials said, adding that "the marchers insisted they wanted to move to the Valley to hoist the national flag inside the NIT in Srinagar."

"After negotiations, the marchers agreed to hand over the national flag to the district administration officials who promised the flag would be hoisted inside NIT Srinagar on behalf of the marchers," they said. "After reaching an agreement with the authorities, the marchers moved back to Madhopur (Pathankot) in Punjab."

The students had started their march from Rakabganj Gurudwara in New Delhi yesterday. Holding the national flags, students said that they were going to express solidarity with the non-local students at the institute, following the last week’s unrest.

“Seeing the tense situation in Jammu and Kashmir, we had planned to hand over national flag and show that it is not a crime to hoist the Tricolour in the state. We want to show our support to the non-local NIT students who stood up for the nation and were brutally bashed up by the locals and the police," an activist, who called the march 'NIT Chalo’, said.

Tension gripped the NIT Srinagar since April 4 when non-local students shouting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and carrying the national flag were stopped by police at the main gate to prevent escalation of tension in the otherwise law and order sensitive Hazratbal area of Srinagar city.

The authorities have rejected the demand of the non-local students to shift the NIT out of the Valley while other demands of the students have been accepted in principle, according to state deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh.

Students will hold another round of deliberations with Nirmal Singh, state education minister, Naeem Akhtar, three-member team of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), director of NIT Srinagar and other senior civil and police administration officials later on Sunday.

Anupam Kher 'denied entry' into Srinagar, held at airport

Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Anupam Kher today said that he was visiting Srinagar's National Institute of Technology to express solidarity and provide moral support to the students.

Kher, who was stopped on his way to the NIT, said that he did not like what happened in the campus.

"I am visiting there at a personal level. It's a symbolic gesture as it is most important to show them solidarity. It's important to give NIT Srinagar students' moral support. I'm going there as a citizen to meet students," Kher said.

"I am not going to flare-up this issue. I will visit there as a citizen, I don't have any political fan following. I will also try to meet Mehbooba ji. I have not informed anyone, I have no security arrangements, I am going as a passenger," Kher added.

Tension was simmering in NIT, Srinagar, after India lost the World T20 semi-final to West Indies, where some engineering students from outside the state claimed Kashmiri students had chanted anti-India slogans and burst firecrackers to celebrate West Indies victory of Team India.

The NIT authorities said the campus has been closed and the students have been asked to vacate the hostel. To control the situation, officials closed the institute's entrance and did not allow anyone to enter. The police had to be called in after efforts by the NIT officials to control the situation and disperse the crowd failed. The police baton charged the protestors and fired teargas to bring the situation under control.