Cricket is a religion in India.
This is what we say and believe in, although never thought it would be taken a tad too literally. Referring to the recent issue in NIT Srinagar, the loss of India in the semi-finals of the T20 world cup hit the country harder than predicted. The rift between India and Pakistan is highlighted in many matters across the country,but in a sensitive place like Kashmir, this is something inherent that takes place every day. Which is why this cricket match served as the initiation for something much bigger.
Summary of what happened
As soon as the match was over, the Kashmiri students began to chant stuff claimed to be anti-nationalist, essentially implying their celebration over India’s defeat. The non-Kashmiri natives of the campus took offense and launched their own protests under the banner of Nationalism, with India’s flag as propaganda. All this led to the interference of the police force (both local and central) in the area, where they tried to restore calm and security. Questions were raised against the CRPF, and several statements were made by people ranging from Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal renouncing BJP’s interests in establishing its vote banks at the cost of security to the J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti convincing the masses that the situation is handled. Recent events also showed the surfacing of a ‘Chalo NIT’ rally with nearly a hundred and fifty students rushing to the spot of this protest, to show their support for the Non-Kashmiri crowd.
With the JNU crisis in the rear view mirror (or is it?), this national institute has now become the centre of a new controversy built on opinionated students, which could have easily been avoided. What is left to see is whether the people will lose faith in the BJP-PDP coalition to generate tranquillity, whether the fears of safety for the students of NIT along with rest of the region’s locals will be allayed, whether this local problem will become a nationwide concern and whether the demands of the non-Kashmiri mob will be satisfied or not. These include their imminent evacuation from the area, shifting of the campus from Srinagar and action against the police workers who allegedly ‘entered their hostels to beat them up’.
Who is at fault?
The natural question is, who is at fault? The Kashmir natives’ ideologies are the result of what environment they have been subjected to throughout their lives. The government has never directly intervened in the way of the local powerful personas feeding the natives the aforementioned anti-nationalist ideas. There are some regions in Kashmir where people who vote during the elections, lose their marked fingers within the blink of an eye, since they can’t vote for a country they ‘don’t belong to’. On the other hand, the non-Kashmiri students simply took their stand on their pride and devotion to the nation’s flag, which is justified. It is the government who benefits from the rift, and their neutral stance on the issue says it all. Let’s hope the Modi government grows a spine and takes action, instead of seeking brownie points for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal elections. This is the education system, not a political playground. Waiting for the government’s response.