Students, police clash at several colleges
* Police accused of extorting money from students, their parents
* JAC fears civil riots
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: The police ‘harassment’ of teachers, doctors and students turned into a major clash at various colleges on Monday.
The police raided the Shalimar College, and also ‘visited’ various other colleges in the city, including the FC College, Diyal Singh College, MAO College and other institutions outside Lahore. According to reports, the police also allegedly broke into the Raiwind Technical College and took all the student and teacher records.
There were also complaints that low-ranking police officers, like assistant sub inspectors (ASI), had been extorting funds, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000, from students and their parents.
The parents of a Shalimar College student told Daily Times, “They (the police) warned us and said cases of terrorism and other allegations would be fabricated against my son, if I refused to pay up.”
The first clash between students and the police took place outside the college, when students and police officers inside a van from the local police stations started flinging bricks at each other.
Outside the MAO College, the Islampura station house officer (SHO) approached the protestors and told them he had strict instructions to block the rally. The altercation carried on for about half an hour, after which the students returned to their classes.
The police harassment continued at most colleges. One teacher told Daily Times, “The police misbehaved with Joint Action Committee (JAC) leader Majid Wazir, summoned a blind FC College teacher, Tanveer Mahmood Siddiqui, and even mailed summons to teachers who were outside the country.” He said that this had been made possible after the police confiscated the student and teacher records of various colleges by raiding their offices.
Reports have also surfaced that the police harassment will increase today (Tuesday), as the police will be attempting to prevent students and teachers from participating in the JAC rally on November 13 (Wednesday).
Sources said several arrests were also expected. Daily Times tried to contact Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) of Operations Aftab Ahmad Cheema, but he could not traced.
Meanwhile, JAC leaders told reporters at a press conference on Monday that by harassing the people and sabotaging their rights, the government was heading towards a civil war and riots.
“We are ready to hold dialogues with the government, but it has double standards,” said JAC Convener Nazim Hussnain, adding, “On the one hand, the governor says he wants to hold dialogues with the JAC, while on the other hand, he is continuously implementing the privatisation and the boards of governor (BoGs).”
The JAC representative condemned the police harassment and raids on students and teachers, even at their homes. He said that according to the law, the police was not allowed to summon any principal or senior teacher of grade 19 to 20 without the consent of the chief secretary. “This is a clear indication that the police is operating as per the Punjab governor’s directions,” he said.
Mr Hussain announced that the legal committee of teachers and doctors would approach the courts against the police action. He said a large number of people, from all walks of life, would join the November 13 demonstration.
However, he could not respond when asked about the route of the rally on Wednesday. “It will depend on the situation,” he said.
The students and staff of the Government College of Technology at Raiwind Road also expressed resentment over the police raids at the homes of various clerks and head clerks to obtain official college records. United Teachers’ Association President Muhammad Tariq said a large number of technical students would join the November 13 rally.
Daily Times also learnt from the United Front of Students that a strategy had been designed to fill the main Old Campus ground with the maximum amount of students. “We will ensure the maximum participation of students,” said the front’s spokesman.
The Islami Jamiat Talaba has also condemned the police harassment at various institutions. They also expressed resentment over the police raids.