The death of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani and the unrest that has followed in Kashmir have cast a long shadow over the career prospects of students at Srinagar's National Institute of Technology (NIT).
Many of them have written to the Centre and leaders from the ruling BJP about companies staying away from campus placement drives over security concerns. Violent protests erupted last month in the Valley after the killing of Wani, who had a large social media following and was credited with reviving militancy in Kashmir.
The students said in the letter that companies which visit "third-grade colleges" across the country for recruitments too have shunned the premier institute rated by many at par with the IITs.
Mail Today tried to contact the registrar of the college, FA Mir, but his phone remained switched off.
"Such a big question is the security of the Valley at this time that all those companies that even used to visit till last year have refused this time to recruit from the college," reads the letter accessed by this paper.
"Then what is NIT Srinagar good for? Is the HRD preparing engineers in NIT or soldiers for battlefield whom they want to test and try?" Students refer to the plight as "NIT Crisis 2.0" in a reference to an earlier bout of unrest.
The institute hit the headlines in April when clashes broke out between local and non-Kashmiri students over India's loss to the West Indies in a T20 World Cup game. This was followed by a spate of violence as allegations of rape and death threats abounded while those perceived as "outsiders" were pelted with stones.
Students alleged that the institute had not made adequate alternative arrangements and even in cases where it had, companies did not show much interest. However, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had said on August 1 that the crisis at the trouble-racked institute had been resolved.
"Does the central or the state government have any idea how this institute is working when in the neighbourhood of NIT are the residences of separatists such as Mirwaiz Farooq and (Syed Ali) Geelani," said an NIT student who comes from Rajasthan.
"Anti-India slogans are common even inside the campus by Kashmiri Muslims, though not all." Students have also "dared" the centre and the HRD minister to come and experience their plight.
Dean of students' welfare AB Liman told Mail Today that the college is trying to cope with the situation in the Valley and expected the new session to begin from around August 23, though the date announced previously was August 3.
"There should not be much of a problem. Last time, when the Valley was gripped by floods, we had lost many academic days but made up for it later and we expect to do the same this time too," he said.
Liman also told Mail Today that since his house is in the disturbed zone, he was unable to visit the college for many days and did not know about the placement season.