Management registered case against 500 students
The Lahore police have registered cases against 500 students after their protest outside the University of Central Punjab turned violent on Tuesday.
The FIRs were registered on the basis of the statement of the varsity’s Chief Security Officer Naveed Mukhtar by the Nawab Town police.
Mukhtar said that the university administration requested the students to call off the protest. At 2pm, the students were incited by a man identified as Zubair Siddiqui and they attacked all the gates of the campus.
The protesters held the security guards hostage, broke the windows, and vandalised the furniture at the university, some students entered the campus by climbing the walls near the hostel for women and threw petrol bombs. The university suffered losses worth Rs2.7 million.
The teachers and staff members were left scared and seven guards were injured.
The students have been charged under Section 16 (Dissemination of rumours) of the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, 1960 and the following sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.
At least 36 young people have been detained by the police, said Usama Khawar, who is representing the students. He said that the exact number of the arrested people is not known. The police even arrested a man who was having a cup of tea at a nearby stall.
The detainees, who were arrested last night, were brought to the court in a prisoners’ van but they were not presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate Asif Iqbal.
The lawyers of the students argued that the police have no basis to seek the remand of the arrested people. “We argued that these people cannot be detained by the police as it would lead to their harassment at the hands of the law enforcing agencies,” Khawar said.
The court remanded them into police custody for three days.
According to legal experts, it is essential for the police to present the arrested people in the court when they apply for their remand. The process ensures that the arrested people haven’t been tortured by the police.
The court has, on the other hand, approved the pre-arrest bail of Zubair Siddiqui, a student was who injured during the UCP protest.
On Tuesday, a group of over 300 university students protesting against physical exams clashed with the police and UCP security guards outside the campus.
According to Salman Sikander, the information secretary of the Progressive Students’ Collective, the students were called in for talks with the university management at 2pm.
At around noon, the university’s security guards closed the main gate. The students didn’t understand what was going on. They then opened the gates and we saw an entire army of guards coming out to baton-charge the students. “Some even pelted stones at the students, while others threw their batons.”
Sikander said the students responded to the attack.
On the other hand, the UCP management said the students weren’t allowed to enter the university over which they lost their cool, broke the main gate of the campus and pelted the guards with stones.
Many students were injured in the attack and were moved to Jinnah hospital.
Students across Pakistan have taken to the streets in protest of the universities’ decision of physical exams for fall semester 2020-2021.
They have demanded that their exams should be held online since their classes were online the entire semester. “The learning management system was not working most of the time and the quality of our classes was very bad,” one of the protesters complained.
The students have demanded that the exams should either be taken online or universities should postpone the finals.
“Give us classes on campus for two months and then take the exams,” they said, adding that otherwise, they will continue their protests. Following this, #StudentsWantOnlineExams started trending on Twitter.
Protests sprung up in other parts of the country such as Bahawalpur, Multan, and Dera Ghazi Khan as well. Following this, a number of varsities such as the University of Management and Technology and the University of Peshawar reverted their decision and postponed the exams.
The managements of the universities had earlier said that as the government was reopening universities from February 1, they might as well take exams on campus.
Earlier this week, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the Higher Education Commission will consult with varsities on the matter but the final decision rests in the managements’ hands.
The HEC does not have any authority over the academic decisions made by the varsities, Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir told SAMAA TV. “The HEC only advises them when they consult the body.”
He condemned the action taken by the students. “This way anyone will come onto the streets and blackmail the authorities to make decisions in their favour.”
Yasir added that the varsities should talk to students and reach a decision that is acceptable for both the students and the management.