Govt defends deployment of central forces at NIT

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Agencies  

New Delhi, April 26: Amid criticism, the government today defended in Lok Sabha the decision to deploy central forces inside NIT in Srinagar which saw trouble recently, saying it was done after requests from the institute’s authorities.

“It was not our decision, not a suo motu decision. There was a request from the NIT authorities and hence the decision was taken to deploy central forces in the campus. It was not a unilateral decision of the central government,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said.

His remarks came amid criticism of deployment of central forces on the campus which witnessed clashes between local and outstation students after India lost to West Indies in World T-20 semi final match on March 31.

Earlier, Congress Chief Whip Jyotiraditya Scindia said students don’t trust Jammu and Kashmir Police since they “brutally lathicharged” them and he wanted to ask the Home Minister when the CRPF will be fully deployed at the campus.

“At the same time, what action is the government taking against those J&K policemen who resorted to lathicharge since you are part of the government in the state,” he asked.

Scindia accused the J and K Police of “brutally” attacking the protesting students of NIT who were chanting slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

His comments invited strong protests from treasury benches, particularly from BJP MP and former Union Home Secretary R K Singh, who said J and K Police is known for its sacrifices for the country’s unity and integrity and such comments are unwarranted.

Rijiju said it is a known fact that it is the state police which takes action wherever necessary and the central forces only help the local authorities.

He said three companies (comprising around 300 personnel) of paramilitary forces were deployed inside the NIT campus while outside is being guarded by the J and K Police.

AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi also disapproved of Scindia’s comments saying 3,000 personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police have laid down their lives serving the nation.

Owaisi said after deployment of central forces, there was a perception that non-locals can be protected only by central forces, which was not good.

“Alienation of youth has been increasing and if we do not take action to stop alienation of youth, there will be problems,” he said.

Rijiju said the reports of HRD Ministry’s fact-finding team, Jammu and Kashmir government-appointed Magisterial Inquiry and an internal committee were yet to come and action will be taken as per their recommendations.

Intervening, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said when the non-local students had requested to go home, the state government made all arrangements and many of them now have returned to the campus.

Those students who missed their exams will now be given opportunity to appear in the tests between May 26-29, he said.