Hyderabad:14 February: Police and Rangers fired shots into the air and lobbed teargas shells to prevent a group of students from holding a protest rally on Thursday morning against the Sindh University (SU) administration for its alleged failure to resolve issues relating to academic facilities and inconveniences being faced by the varsity students.
Junaid Khoso, convener of the students action committee, which claims to represent nine student groups affiliated to their respective political parties, was arrested for possessing arms. The committee alleged that he was also beaten up by the law-enforcement agencies personnel during the action.
The protesting students gathered at the SU hostel gate in the morning and tried to take out a rally and enter the SU campus but Rangers personnel restrained them from marching into the campus.
Restricted to the compound of the hostels, the protesting students, led by Mr Khoso, held a sit-in.
Speaking to them, Mr Khoso and his deputy Allah Dad Siyal criticised the SU administration for failing to cope with increasing lawlessness on the campus. Instead of resolving issues, the administration was using police and Rangers against students and had disallowed holding of a peaceful rally, they said.
A stampede occurred when police and Rangers tried to disperse them.
According to a student leader, Dr Rahmatullah Odhano, Mr Khoso, a leader of the Jeay Sindh Students Federation, was arrested and mercilessly beaten up.
He said the trouble started when the police and Rangers fired into the air and lobbed teargas shells to disperse protesters. He blamed Rangers official Javed Iqbal for the situation turning unpleasant.
Jamshoro SSP Wasi Hyder said Khoso was arrested after he was found in possession of a pistol and was already wanted to police in some other cases. The SSP explained that ‘outsiders’ had gathered at the hostels compound and some elements belonging to the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz were to join in the protest. “Since the JSMM is a banned organisation, its members could not be allowed to hold a rally,” he added.
When the students were not allowed to hold the rally, they staged a sit-in inside the compound and it continued for about three hours, it was reported. Sources said that no university official visited the place to speak to the protesters which spread unrest among them.
Police used batons to disperse them causing a stampede and injuries to some students, they said, adding that police and Rangers then conducted a search operation in the boys’ hostels. The entire area housing the hostels remained tense for about six hours, till 3pm.
An SU spokesman told Dawn that the law-enforcement agencies personnel moved into action when students tried to force other hostellers to join in their protest. “The law-enforcers objected to it and this caused tension,” he claimed.Dawn.