A total of 38 students from two branches of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) – Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi and Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri – were a part of a year-long exchange program. The exchange happened in August and it had to be cut short on Friday, when J&K’s visiting students were assaulted.
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Why the J&K students were targeted
According to reports, the cause of the assault was that the Jhansi students had heard about their school’s students having been “beaten up” by the Rajouri students following a heated dispute. Angered by this, the Jhansi students proceeded to protest against the 18 class 9 students from J&K on Thursday.
Navodaya Vidyalay’s principal RP Tiwari stated, “We managed to pacify the students by telling them that the incident in Rajouri was a minor one and moved the J&K students to a separate room”. He told his school’s students that the incident in Rajouri may have been the result of ragging.
However, the situation on the Jhansi campus quickly turned violent as the students tried to attack the visiting students, a school staff member stated.
The police had to be called to tame the volatile situation
The J&K students were staying in the Jhansi school’s hostel, around which the resident school students gathered to protest and raise slogans on Thursday night. The school staff stated that they arrived before the protestors could enter the hostel and shifted the visiting students to the staff room.
The resident students followed the J&K students to the staff room and demanded for the visiting students to be handed over to them. The protesting students resorted to stone pelting, a staff member added. The school authorities quickly informed the police about the situation, who rushed to the school and pacified the protesting students. The protestors were sent back to their hostels.
The Jhansi students persisted
The students at the Jhansi branch resorted to staging a dharna protest on the following morning of Friday, alleging that the police had used forced the previous night in order to disperse them. Circle officer of Jhansi, Sneha Tiwari, firmly refuted this allegation.
Principal Tiwari said that the students ended their protest once they were told that necessary action was going to be taken. “Keeping the situation in mind, we sent the J&K students back to Rajouri”. He also stated that the authorities at Rajouri were also asked to send the Jhansi students back at this point.
The J&K students alleged that they were severely beaten up before they were shifted to the place where they were taken to the railway station from.
Principal Tiwari stated that the Rajouri students had been taken to the railway station in private vehicles under staff supervision.
Principal of Rajouri school stated no violence occurred on his campus
SK Jain, the principal of JNV, Rajouri, denied the assault allegations on his school students. “The students from Jhansi packed their bags and insisted on being sent back to Jhansi”, which caused “heated exchanges” between the student groups, he stated.
He added that the Jhansi students did not bring woollens with them to be prepared for the cold weather, came late for classes and the morning assembly, and “had been non-cooperative from the very beginning”.
Kandi police station (Rajouri) in-charge, Shakeel Manhas, stated that they were not informed of any violence on the J&K campus.
Is there an angle of religion in the case?
The school authorities stated that the attack had nothing to do with state or religion. “The issue involved students’ ego”, an official added.