HYDERABAD, Nov 19: Angry protesters on Monday set on fire a police mobile and ransacked the administration block and a hostel, housing the police force, on the Sindh University’s Jamshoro campus when police tried to detain two Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM) activists during the course of their protest demonstration.
About 100 students belonging to JSMM were staging a sit-in outside the SU administration block demanding fee exemption for the students hailing from rain/flood-hit areas of Sindh, withdrawal of FIRs registered against the students belonging to the JSMM and removal of the SU hostel provost. The sit-in continued for around three hours.
According to witnesses, a strong contingent of police arrived at the scene and tried to arrest two students — JSSM student wing president at SU Jabbar Jhatyal and Sheeraz Pirzado — which infuriated the protesters. However, trouble started when the police were attacked with stones causing minor injuries to Kotri DSP Ghulam Sarwar Panhwar, a reserve inspector Ejaz Soomro and three other policemen.
Police responded with baton-charge and teargas shelling before firing into the air. Many people including Zahid Shar, Jabbar Jhatyal, Parvez Chandio, Shams Narejo, Nazakat Mangi, Liaquat Lund and Shakeel Khunawro were wounded in the violent clash after which a police van was set on fire by an angry mob.
SU Registrar Nawaz Narejo issued a statement claiming that protesters entered the administration block and ransacked offices while some students attacked and damaged vehicles of university employees.
“In fact, police tried to arrest some students in connection with some cases which infuriated protesting students and led to a clash between the two sides, he said.
Police arrested Jabbar Jhatyal, Nadeem Kolachi, Raza Noohani, Parvez Chandio, Darya Khan Dhakkan, Asif Panhwar, Ameer Noonari, Sheeraz Pirzado, Ilahi Bux Bhutto, Shakeel Khunawaro, Liaquat Lund, Agha Imran Pathan and several other students but when they were being taken to the police station, around 150 students surrounded the police van and got their colleagues freed.
Later, a mob broke into the hostel housing the police personnel deployed on the campus and some of the intruders tried to take away police weapons. In their bid to counter the attack, the police fired shots into the air but the retreating mob torched a motorcycle, furniture and other goods within the vicinity of the hostel.
In the meantime, a group of students led by Raza Noohani, Nadeem Kolachi and others staged a sit-in outside the hostel to condemn the police action. They also accused the university administration of “staging the high drama”.
Jamshoro SSP Farrukh Bashir said that three separate FIRs were registered against 25 students for getting arrested students released, torching a police mobile and attacking police force at the hostel.
“Our strategy to arrest Sheeraz Pirzada and Jabbar Jhatyal, who were wanted to the police in some cases, backfired,” he conceded.
He said that the police had earlier repeatedly approached the university administration with a request to rusticate certain students but without a positive response.
Meanwhile, Jeay Sindh Students Federation chairman Hafeez Pirzada issued a statement on Monday evening to condemn the police action against students.
“The police officers involved and the SU administration would have to face consequences,” he warned, and demanded withdrawal of the law-enforcement agencies personnel from the campuses of all universities in Sindh to ensure a peaceful atmosphere at the institutions.