SRINAGAR: Eighteen male students of Navodaya Vidyalaya (NV) from Jammu and Kashmir, who had arrived at the school’s branch in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi about two months ago as part of an integration scheme, were sent back home early on Friday following a protest by local students, The Indian Express reported.
The Kashmiri students were residing at the NV hostel in Jhansi.
Under the same scheme, 20 students from NV Jhansi had been sent to Kashmir in August and were accommodated at the NV hostel in Rajouri, Kashmir. On Thursday evening, the Jhansi students staged a protest on campus, claiming that their schoolmates in Rajouri had been assaulted after a dispute, according to the police.
As per school authorities, Local students surrounded the hostel where the Kashmiri students were staying and demanded their transfer. However, school staff intervened before they could gain access, safely relocating the Kashmiri students to the staff room.
Meanwhile, the police were alerted and quickly arrived on the scene, escorting the students back to their hostel.
On Friday morning, NV Jhansi students protested, alleging that the police had used force against them during their Thursday night protest. They also called for action against the officers. When contacted, Circle Officer (Jhansi) Sneha Tiwari denied that the police had used force to disperse the students.
R P Tiwari, the principal of Jhansi’s Navodaya Vidyalaya, stated, “Taking a serious view of the situation, we sent the Kashmiri students back to their home region early on Friday. We have also requested our counterparts at NV Rajouri to return our students.”
The Kashmiri students were transported back to Rajouri in private vehicles under the supervision of NV Jhansi staff. A police officer noted, “The principals of the Jhansi and Rajouri schools are in contact with them and coordinating the safe return of the children.”
Tiwari further added, “Under the scheme, students are sent for a year. However, due to the current situation, we have terminated the scheme prematurely. The principal of NV Rajouri has also repatriated our students.”
A senior school official mentioned that they had received information about a Navodaya Vidyalaya student getting injured in the Rajouri incident. “The complete picture will only become clear after all 20 students, all of them in Class 9, return to Jhansi,” he added.
“We are also making efforts to persuade the protesting students to end their protest,” the principal concluded.
The Kashmiri students, also in Class 9, had arrived in Jhansi in the first week of August as part of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti’s Migration of Students for National Integration scheme. This initiative facilitates student migration from one Navodaya Vidyalaya (NV) to another located in a different linguistic region, promoting a better understanding of India’s diverse cultures.