PESHAWAR, March 19 The death of a student at the hands of a student wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami sparked riots and clashes between rival student factions, prompting the authorities to close down all educational institutions on the campus of the University of Peshawar till further orders.
A university official said the riots followed the death of a student of the University of Engineering and Technology, who had been wounded in an attack last week by activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba for playing music inside his hostel room.
“It was very unfortunate,” UET Vice Chancellor Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gillani told Dawn.
He declined to go into details of the incident saying it was a sensitive matter but said that the university had been closed down till further orders. “We would be monitoring the situation. Right now, there is a lot of anger out there.”
Peshawar University, NWFP Agriculture University, Islamia College University, Islamia College, Khyber Medical College and Islamia Collegiate and University Public Schools, all situated on the campus of the University of Peshawar, have been closed down.
“All students have been ordered to vacate hostels by 1200 hrs today (Saturday)”, an official statement by the university administration said. The new schedule for examinations being held in the educational institutions would soon be announced, it said.
The death of Adnan Abdul Qadir of Bannu district on Saturday sparked protests by students of Pakhtun Students Federation and Bannu Students Federation, who went on a rampage in the university, burning and damaging the property.
Police swung into action immediately afterwards and brought the situation under control but the official said the action to close down educational institutions was to preempt further escalation in violence.
A final year student in civil technology of Engineering University Peshawar Adnan had sustained serious head critical injuries in a clash with IJT activists over playing of music inside his room in Hostel No.8 in the campus on March 13. He succumbed to his wounds at Lady Reading Hospital on Friday.
Hospital sources said that the injured student had multiple head injuries and was in comma since he was severely beaten by the students of the group.
Police had charged nine students of the IJT with assaulting the student, who are all absconding. Six of the accused belonged to UET who, the vice chancellor said, had been expelled.
As the students residing in different hostels learnt about shifting of their mate's body to the Khyber Medical College mortuary, they came out of their rooms and blocked the main University Road for vehicular traffic.
The enraged students forced their way into the Avicenna Hostel by smashing the main gate and broke into the rooms of students who had been nominated in the case. They torched their luggage and other items. They also smashed the windowpanes.
The students also took out procession and set rooms on fire in New Hostel of Peshawar University. Heavy contingents of the campus police resorted to tear gas shelling and baton charge, further infuriating the students continued.
A UET spokeswoman said that disciplinary action would be taken against all those found involved in provoking students, damaging the university property and creating law and order situation on the campus. She confirmed that several rooms had been damaged in the hostel.
All the boys and girls hostels, she said, would be vacated from the students with immediate effect as the administration could not ensure security of students in the prevailing tense situation.
Meanwhile, Peshawar University spokesman Akhtar Ameen told Dawn that Campus Coordination Committee (CCC) Secretary Sherin Zada Khattak had informed heads of all the institutions in the campus that there would be no classes for three days.
A campus police official said that murder case against nine students had been registered. A complainant, Ibrahim Khan, told police that those involved in the case included Sibghatullah, Muqeemuddin, Umer Farooq, Mohammad Ibrahim, Nauman Khattak, Zahid Khattak, Aziz-ur-Rehman, Fahad and Zulfiqar. He said that none of them had so far been arrested.