MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Medical College Muzaffarabad students staged a demonstration on Thursday, a day after a fierce clash with the police.

However, after holding meetings with top administration officials assured them that their demands would be met, the protesters dispersed peacefully.

At about 10am, the students assembled outside the press club, where they chanted slogans against the police and district administration for “unleashing a reign of terror on them without any justification”.

On Wednesday, several students and policemen were injured in a clash between the two sides outside the main entrance of the college, located in the upscale Jalalabad neighbourhood. Police had arrested and registered cases against more than 50 students.

However, Chief Secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja intervened in the situation, forming a committee with Additional Chief Secretary-General (ACS-G) Dr Syed Asif Hussain to probe the matter. On his direction, all detained students were released at sehri time, around 2am.

Speaking to the press, in the presence of lawyers, trade leaders and political activists, the students demanded that their examination system issue be resolved, and a judicial probe be held to unearth the reasons and persons responsible for bringing the situation to this point.

“What we have suffered the other day is unprecedented in the history of educational institutions in Azad Kashmir. We demand justice. It should include settlement of our issue as well as punishment to the people responsible for yesterday’s mess,” demanded a student leader dressed in bloodstained overalls, with bandages around his forehead.

At least five other students were also wearing bandages around their wounds.

Later, the protesters spread mats on a pavement just across the press club and sat there until the afternoon. In the meantime, their representatives called on the chief secretary who consoled and assured them that their demand for the constitution of a judicial commission would be accepted.

Side by side, the ACS-G also assured the students that their main issue regarding improvements in the examination system would be settled in a week’s time. Action would also be taken against those responsible for Wednesday’s incident, he said, following which the strike was called off.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2016