Tense PU reeling in clash aftermath

LAHORE: The situation remained tense at the New Campus of Punjab University on Tuesday violent clashes between two student groups left dozens injured the day before.

Heavy contingent of police remained on campus and restricted the entry of students by closing all gates, with the exception of one. A flag march led by Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains was also held.

Police also took as many as 23 students into custody during raids at their hostels. A search operation was also conducted in departments by the police and the university administration suspended 37 students for their alleged involvement in the clashes.

On Monday night, Punjab Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gilani said authorities have controlled the situation at the university and it would remain open on Tuesday.

However, on Monday night, a large number of Pakhtun students gathered outside the office of Punjab University vice-chancellor and held a sit-in. They demanded action against the suspects involved in hooliganism and the assault of their colleagues.

On Tuesday morning, a huge number of Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) members from PU and nearby educational institutes gathered on Campus Bridge and Paikhay Wala Mor. They blocked the road for all kinds of traffic and chanted slogans against police and the university administration.

On information, heavy contingents of police reached the spot and dispersed the students.

CCPO Amin Wains, along with Operations DIG Dr Haider Ashraf, Iqbal Town SP Rana Umar Farooq and Anti-Riot Force SP Nadeem Khokhar reached the spot. They held meeting with PU chief security officer and vice chancellor Zakir Zakriya.

Later, they held a flag march throughout the campus. DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said the purpose of the march was to improve the sense of protection among common students. He assured no miscreants would be allowed to disrupt the peaceful environment of the historic educational institute. In a statement, he vowed to take indiscriminate action against ‘rogue’ elements.

Police also have registered case FIR No. 58/18 under Section Seven of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) as well as sections 436, 427, 148, 149, 395 and 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code. The case was lodged at Muslim Town police station against students on the complaint of PU Chief Security Officer (SCO) Lt. Col (Retd) M Obaid Masood.

Police also conducted a search operation in the hostels and took 23 students into custody.

Different groups of students kept protesting and holding rallies throughout the campus. Pakhtun students also gathered at Campus Bridge in the evening and held a protest.

They also held a press conference and demanded the arrest of IJT members who were suspected to be involved in the attack on their fellows.

Meanwhile, Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zakriya Zakir chaired a meeting of all the heads of departments at Al Raazi Hall. During the meeting, it was decided to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against vandalism.

The meeting decided to take across-the-board action against the culprits involved in the incident. The participants also stated that a centralized database system would be prepared so any culprit found involved in violence could be identified with accurate information.

The meeting decided to admit students on Balochistan’s reserved quota through nominations from the Government of Baluchistan. Those present also decided to improve attendance systems through biometric devices. The meeting also discussed an e-lane system at entry points of the university.

In a press statement, the university spokesman confirmed that as many as 37 students had been suspended as they were initially found to be involved in the incident. Disciplinary proceedings had also been initiated against them.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1616314/1-tense-pu-reeling-clash-aftermath/