NAWABSHAH, March 22: A police officer was beaten to death when he along with his colleagues sought to stop an armed clash between two student groups on the premises of the Quaid-i-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology (QUEST), Nawabshah, on Friday.

Station house officer of the Taluka police station Abdul Raheem Khaskheli along with a police party arrived on the campus after receiving reports that a clash between two groups of students was under way and six students had already been injured.

While the embattled groups were trading fire, the police team tried to disperse them but some students caught hold of the SHO and severely beat him up with clubs.

He was rushed to the People’s Medical College Hospital (PMCH) where he died from his injuries.

Reports from the campus suggested that the two groups of students had been at odds with each other for a couple of days over the matter of friendship with a female student. Earlier they had heated arguments, but on Friday attacked each other with clubs, causing injuries to six students from both sides.

Later, some of the angry students brought in firearms which turned the B Sector area of the campus into a battlefield. A motorcycle was set ablaze and a coaster of the university was damaged during the clash.

A police team led by SHO Khaskheli rushed to the scene and tried to calm down the enraged students but the SHO was also attacked with clubs.

Five of the students injured in the clash were identified as Ayaz Sher, Arif Pathan, Abdul Ghaffar, Saddam Hussain and Anwar. The name of the sixth student could not be ascertained till the filing of the report.

The injured students were also shifted to the PMCH from where the police took them away.

It was not immediately known where they were being kept.

A few hours after the clash, police carried out raids on the university hostel and picked up many students for investigation. The police also conducted a search of the hostel for weapons but could not find any.

Shaheed Benazirabad SSP Ghulam Sarwar Abro told Dawn that the two student groups had been at odds over their friendship with a female student.

He said a number of students had been taken into custody after the clash and those found innocent would be released soon.

QUEST Vice Chancellor Prof Dr A.B. Soomro described the clash as ‘unfortunate’ and said the situation on the campus was now under control. He said the university would remain open on Monday. He wondered why the Rangers stationed at the university did not intervene during the whole episode. He said he would discuss the issue of security at the university with the Rangers commandant.

The Taluka police told Dawn that the students involved in the violent clash belonged to the Sindh Peoples Students Federation and the Muslim Students Federation-Functional.

The funeral of the slain police officer was held at the local police ground before he was laid to rest.

No FIR was registered till late Friday night.

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