Islamabad police temporarily detain students, use force to end protest against physical board exams

Published July 1, 2021
The students had started gathering outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) office between 10:30 and 11am in the morning. — White Star/File
The students had started gathering outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) office between 10:30 and 11am in the morning. — White Star/File

Islamabad police on Thursday temporarily detained a dozen students and used force to end a protest against holding in-person examinations for classes nine to 12 which are scheduled to begin later this month.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Dr Mustafa Tanveer told Dawn.com that the students had started gathering outside the Higher Education Commission (HEC) office between 10:30am and 11am. They were protesting in-person exams as well as calling for Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood's resignation.

However, as the number of protesters increased, they blocked the Ninth Avenue, he said. "We were told to use force to clear the road for traffic," he added.

The police then detained around a dozen students and used force to disperse the protesters and clear the road for traffic, the official said. The students were later released.

A number of such protests have taken place across the country in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic dragged on, affecting educational activities.

In May, over a dozen protesters were arrested and scores of motorcycles impounded during police action to disperse students staging a protest demanding online examinations at Faizabad.

The protesting students shouted slogans against the government, the federal minister for education and other officers of the education department.

During negotiations between senior officials from the administration and police, and protesters, some of the students turned violent, officials had claimed.

These protesters started damaging private vehicles and also beat and injured the drivers of these vehicles. In response, the police resorted to baton-charge to disperse the protesters.

However, the protesters retaliated and pelted the police with stones.

Shortly afterwards, the police started teargas shelling and succeeded in dispersing the students.

Earlier in the year, multiple injuries were reported after the Punjab Police allegedly baton-charged students protesting against on-campus exams in Lahore.

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