LAHORE, Oct 29: Two handcuffed Ravians were produced before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge on Wednesday. Anarkali police arrested them from their homes on Tuesday midnight for protesting the Government College University (GCU) administration’s ‘wrongdoing’.
ATC judge Shabbir Husain Chattha sent both Ravians -- Usman Lateef and Haroon Mahmood -- behind bars on judicial remand for 14 days.
BCU Registrar Sahibzada Faisal Khurshid got registered a first information report (FIR) on Tuesday against nine students and some ‘outsiders’ for “unduly gathering outside the GCU premises and creating chaos in the smooth running of the usual educational activities of the university”.
Police booked BS (Honours) students Maher Muhammad Akmal, Shujaat Ali, Muhammad Bilawal Khan, Haroon Mahmood, Muhammad Ali, Usman Lateef, Hasan Sardar, Ali Aslam and Abdul Saboor. Police continued raiding different places to arrest the remaining students ‘still at large’.
Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Pervaiz Rashid told Dawn that the provincial government had ordered the varsity administration to get the FIR quashed forthwith. “The government does not consider the varsity’s action in right direction,” he said.
The arrested students’ parents, who were in tears while standing helplessly outside the Anti-Terrorism Court on Wednesday afternoon, told Dawn that they were shocked to learn that their wards were picked by police for holding a protest.
Usman’s father Muhammad Lateef told Dawn that his son had gone to open the main gate at night as their door-bell rang, but did not return. He said the New Anarkali police did not allow him to meet his son.
Mr Lateef, who is a goods forwarding agent, said, “The GCU administration has ruined the future of my son.” He said his son would get a very wrong impression while staying with other criminals in jail.
“The GCU vice-chancellor should himself get these students’ psychological check-up and see what he has done to innocent students,” he said.
Haroon’s father Hasan Mahmood, who drives a motorcycle rickshaw, said his son was not a terrorist and the university administration as well as the police should be ashamed for brining charges against him.
They demanded the governor and the chief minister take note of the incident and remove the vice-chancellor as well as the registrar. They said the students had staged a peaceful protest demonstration to get their due right, which was not at all a criminal offence.
One student’s lawyer Mian Bashir Saif told Dawn that he had pleaded before the judge that the prima facie the offence did not constitute. He said he would move a bail application on Thursday (today).
These students protested against the university administration for dropping some 125 students of BA/BSc (Honours) session 2007-11 semester-II from university rolls in the third and last week of September.
After protest, the university administration and issued a corrigenda for semester-II as well as semester-I results showing most of the students pass or promoted with conditions ‘First Probation’ or ‘Second Probation’.
Since then, the university administration started victimising students as its disciplinary committee issued notices to all students, who had participated in Sept 24 protest outside the Lahore Press Club.
One student, Shaukat Abdul Rehman, appeared before the disciplinary committee along with his father. The committee ordered his rustication. Later, the university registrar asked them to write down an apology as well as apply for migration. Later, Shaukat was issued a migration certificate.
After this incident, most of the students did not appear before the disciplinary committee, which according to them, coerced students and their parents and got written apologies, which were used as a proof of their “crime”.
Some of the students nominated in the FIR were freshmen, as they protested against the university administration for striking off some 400 students on the charges of ‘short attendance’.
The university record shows the GCU struck off 677 students of intermediate and degree classes.
OLD RAVIAN’S CONCERNS: Old Ravians reacted against the GCU administration’s action saying it a highly irresponsible action. They said the university administration must listen to students’ genuine grievances and rectify them in good faith.
One charged Old Ravian said Prof Aftab’s action was in sharp contrast to former Government College’s principal Dr Nazir Ahmad, who had protected and shown sympathy with college students, who were allegedly involved in fanning resentment against the then government. “Dr Ahmad was eventually transferred for annoying Amir Muhammad Khan, then governor of West Pakistan,” he added.
The Old Ravian said Dr Nazir had provided a strong forum for freedom of expression to Ravians, which Prof Aftab had now “snatched” from the Ravians.
SAC PROTEST: The Students’ Action Committee on Wednesday evening staged a protest demonstration against the GCU administration for its action against the students. They chanted slogans against the GCU vice-chancellor and the registrar.