NIT Row: Now, Delhi Reports Directly

Muhammad Raafi

SRINAGAR

Media crews outside NIT Hazratbal.
Media crews outside NIT Hazratbal.

Police in J&K believe that media coverage to NIT events is key factor for the campus to remain boiling. A section of the media has been covering the campus with a twist, a police report sent to state government has reportedly suggested.

Interestingly, a number of Delhi based news channels have flown journalists specially to cover the happenings.

“I’m sitting idle at home as our channel has flown reporters from New Delhi to cover NIT issue,” a reputed correspondent, who wished to remain anonymous, told Kashmir Life.

J&K police report to state government has suggested the “provocative coverage” prevents the issue from being handled by the officials. Almost a dozen out-station reporters are covering the NIT unrest. But the reportage on electronic media is apparently more.

“This move is akin to what happened in September 2014 floods,” a senior Kashmir based journalist said, “Parachute journalism is not new in Kashmir. They have been doing it in the past as well. They do it when even natural disasters take place.”

At least six TV channels, mostly Hindi, have flown their reporters from Delhi to cover the unrest.

One senior TV reporter, who is reporting the crisis for his network said, the new battery of his competitors are working “interestingly”. “Today they rang up their student contacts and asked them to come out on road so that they can film them,” the reporter claimed. “Police had blocked the passage and they could not come out. Then the students filmed their protest from within and somehow managed its transfer to the specific crews which was aired.”

Another reporter who has been literally replaced for the specific event said the local reporters are for “covering encounters”!

“NIT issue is a common thing to happen in a college campus,” a senior editor working for a Kashmir daily said, “but this move (flying reporters) gives it a different spin.”

In 2014, when Srinagar submerged under 25 feet flood water, the Delhi media flew crews to report the crisis. However, the same reportage was met with severe criticism for being biased.

“This shows that Kashmiris aren’t being trusted,” the journalist said. “They (Delhi) have bypassed the state government, J&K police and now local journalists,” a senior journalist working with a reputed New Delhi based news channel said. “This is despite the fact that Kashmir media has evolved as one of the best.”

Another reporter who works for a Delhi based newspaper said, “They have disowned and literally humiliated state police, what can a journalist expect from them.”

Times of India reported that five companies of central paramilitary forces numbering 600 soldiers are guarding about 1,500 students. “Welcome to Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT), which has become perhaps the country’s most militarized campus following clashes among students,” it reported during the day. The report that two non-local student are being guarded by one soldiers makes a frightening scenario of the NIT premises.

It further said that the local police is virtually invisible. “Two companies of CRPF had been deployed earlier and three companies of Sashastra Seema Bal joined them after campus violence in the last few days.”

However, a junior police officer who spoke from the NIT premises said the CRPF is functioning under the state police. He said there might be around 100 CRPF personnel within NIT. There are many other companies which are in reserves, he said.

A local journalist working with a Delhi-based news channel says, “Delhi has sent para troopers to articulate the debate they have generated inside news studios.”

He says, earlier displaying of Pakistani flags in Kashmir was debated but thanks to NIT now tri-color has been made an issue. “To articulate the nationalistic debate they (reporters) were brought from Delhi.”

The journalist who initially covered the incident said since non locals are in majority, there is no apprehension of a small local minority will make them insecure. He feels part of the non-local students might be interested in migrating to other NIT campuses in other areas.

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