While the country is busy debating, protesting or supporting the government’s decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, taking special category status away from Jammu & Kashmir, life in the valley has been affected. Though it is still not known if the situation in Kashmir is as worse as being depicted by the foreign media, what has surfaced is that a Government Polytechnic College in Srinagar has asked all its students to vacate hostels with immediate effect. This came a day after the Srinagar NIT authorities ordered the suspension of classes till further orders.
The Kashmir Government Polytechnic (KGP) College, Gogji Bagh, Srinagar issued a notification asking students to vacate the hostel on an immediate basis. The notice also specified that no student will be allowed to avail hostel facilities until further orders are issued. This step may have been taken based on speculations of the Indian Army and the Jammu & Kashmir Police that the valley was now vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
However, the decision of KGP may not have resulted due to the supposed unrest caused after the revoking of Article 370. This is because, Principle, KGP, Srinagar, Altaf Hussain Shalla, told the media that the decision has been taken due to renovation purposes at the hostel.
The situation at NIT is different. Non-local NIT students have already started leaving Srinagar. After NIT
suspended classes, students were seen waiting for buses that would take them to Jammu. Students from all over the country study in Srinagar’s NIT. While as many as 26 J&K SRTC buses commuted non-Kashmiri NIT students from the Srinagar campus to Jammu, local students were asked to leave the hostel and return home.
There is no dearth of controversy regarding the NIT notice too. The notice issued by NIT on the suspension of classes mentioned that the decision has been taken in accordance with instructions received from the district administration of Srinagar. But following this, the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar took to Twitter claiming that the department would notify if any closure order was issued. The tweet went to say that over 900 schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas are currently open and operating in Kashmir.
The Deputy Commissioner also expressed objection to NIT’s claim of district administration directions to close the institute. He further wrote that panic among parents resulted in the move and the institution sought transportation help for the limited numbers of non-Kashmiri students. He ended the tweet by saying that full security is assured in the NIT campus. Reiterating the Deputy Commissioner’s claim, a civil engineering student of NIT hailing from Andhra Pradesh, said to the media that his family has been calling him frequently asking him to leave Kashmir and return home immediately.
Be it the panic of the rest of India about the situation in Kashmir or the fear of terrorism, the education system in the valley is getting affected. The situation in Kashmir is not only taxing for students. Even pilgrims have been called off as Amarnath yatra has been stalled for the moment. Tourists have also been asked to return from Kashmir.