Six students from Jammu and Kashmir, who were enrolled in a skill development programme at a private institute in Punjab, were expelled for distributing ‘anti-army’ pamphlets.
However, they were taken back after submitting a written apology.
A group of 10 students are receiving IT training under the Center’s Udaan initiative. Udaan, the special industry initiative for J-K, is funded by the center and is being implemented by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). It aims to address the economic issue of Jammu and Kashmir and provide employment to the youth of the valley.
Nitin Monga, the head of the skill development programme at the institute, said the 10 students had distributed pamphlets allegedly containing objectionable material against the Indian Army. According to him, students were also wearing black arm bands, but the authorities did not raise any objection to that. However, they were asked to stop distributing the pamphlets immediately.
In their defence, the students said that they were protesting against the alleged rape of women by an army unit in north Kashmir’s Kunan- Poshpora villages in 1991.
“When this group of students started to distribute the pamphlets, we objected and told them to stop immediately. They contended that it was their right, but we told them they could do so (protest) outside the institute premises since their act can disturb the peace given that there are many offices on the campus where they are undergoing training,” Monga said.
But, the students were adamant and started to protest outside the institute premises saying it was their right. Monga said:
“We requested them that their action can put their lives in danger as anyone may object to what they were doing and harm them. Four of the students then gave a written apology.”
But, other six students resumed the distribution of pamphlets. Later, they were expelled.
After submitting a written apology, they were taken back as the college authorities did not want to ruin their careers.
“We revoked their expulsion and told them we are not denying them their democratic right to protest, but the institute is not the place where they should be doing this,” added Monga.