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January 24, 2018

80 students arrested after another clash at PU

Lahore

 
January 24, 2018

LAHORE: The situation at Punjab University (PU) New Campus remained tense on the second consecutive day with a police operation at university hostels in the evening, clashes between two student groups and protests against each other.

During the operation and from protests, 80 students were taken into police custody, for their alleged role in the incidents of violence during the two days. Most of the activists belonging to Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) and Pashtun and Baloch lived at hostel No.1.

The two student groups once again clashed at the underpass o the campus on Tuesday evening in which some students got injured. They pelted stones on each other and attacked with sticks and batons. The police nabbed a number of students from the spot while others were taken into custody from the hostel during an operation, which continued till the filing of the report. The day began with activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) blocking the road outside the New Campus on the Campus Bridge. A contingent of police present on the occasion initially did not take any action to avoid any unpleasant situation.

Separately, Pashtun and Baloch students of Punjab University, who were also joined by Saraiki students, staged a demonstration against the hooliganism of IJT activists outside New Campus and demanded the university administration expel illegal students and outsiders from the university hiding under Jamiat.

Jamiat activists carrying sticks and batons forcibly stopped the traffic and blocked the road leading towards Barkat Market and Bhekhewal Morr, which caused a severe traffic mess on many adjacent roads for quite some time. They chanted slogans against the PU administration for allegedly not taking action against Pashtun and Baloch students for their alleged violence at the university. However, following police intervention the demonstrators dispersed. A PU official said many of the IJT demonstrators were not students of the university but outsiders, primarily from the nearby Govt College of Science and Islami College, Civil Lines, both considered Jamiat’s strongholds.

Afterwards, Pashtun, Baloch and Saraiki students gathered outside New Campus and demonstrated against the Jamiat and condemned the PU administration for not taking action against the IJT. Earlier, the PU administration had suspended 37 students who were initially found involved in Monday’s incident and disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against them. Meanwhile, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zakria Zakar chaired a meeting of all heads of departments on Tuesday in which the faculty embers expressed resolve to adopt zero tolerance against vandalism and vowed that nobody would be allowed to take law into their own hands. The meeting decided to take action against the accused involved in the incident. The meeting decided to prepare a centralized database system so that any culprit who was found in any incident of violence could be identified. The meeting decided to admit students on Balochistan’s reserved quota through nominations from the government of Balochistan. The meeting also decided to improve attendance through biometric devices and implement the biometric system in letter and spirit in the hostels. The meeting also discussed to start an e-lane system at the entry points of the university.

In the evening, Pashtun and Baloch students addressed an press conference at the Lahore Press Club in which they said they were students at Punjab University from FATA and Balochistan. Salam Khan, Jaffar Khan, Muhammad Khan and others accused the Jamiat of constantly threatening and torturing their fellows. They also accused Punjab police of giving a safe passage to Jamiat activists during the operation on Tuesday and arresting only Baloch and Pashtun students.

Punjab Minister for Higher Education Syed Raza Ali Gilani addressing a press conference at PU on Tuesday evening said all the 37 students who were nominated in the FIR on Monday had been expelled from the university. He said cases under Anti-Terrorism Act were being registered against those who had damaged property at the university.