Increasing violence on campus
Karachi, Sept 21: The previous week witnessed violent clashes between student
organisations affiliated with various political parties. These organisations
have begun using arms to settle differences with the result that several
students have lost their lives and educational activities at several colleges
and universities have suffered tremendously.
Last week, a minibus was
attacked just outside the University of Karachi claiming the lives of at least
four KU students. Just one day earlier, firing was reported during students'
week activities on the KU campus.
At least eight years have elapsed since
a student was killed on campus due to a violent clash between rival students'
organisations, while it has been well over a decade since the KU campus
reverberated with the sounds of automatic weapons being fired. This grave
renewal of previous trends in violence on campus is a cause for serious concern.
Major students' organisations arrange supposedly peaceful and academic
activities such as book fairs, seminars, and talk shows in order to lure newly
admitted students of apolitical dispositions into their folds.
once such unsuspecting and proficient students are taken into the folds of
various students' organisations, they are exploited to further political
In numerous cases, student organisations have been found guilty
of interfering in management issues, results, examination papers and
departmental affairs. They have also been known to threaten and beat up teachers
over attendance issues and marks.
Moreover, several teachers support
those political parties that are part of the ruling coalition in order to get
undue promotions. Most of the time, when senior professors or lecturers refuse
to comply with these unethical requests, they receive threats and are beaten by
members of these organisations.
A large number of students complain
against a religiously inclined organisation whose members threaten boys found
sitting with girls on campus and often beat them up. The University
administration refuses to take action and this has adversely affected the campus
environment. Stories of remorselessly torturing innocent students are also
common in KU. However, clashes usually arise over 'possession' of colleges and
universities but they may even arise from something as trivial as an activist of
a student group staring at one from the rival group. For several years, clashes
reportedly involved sticks, rods and stones. Activists broke chairs and made
sticks from them or used beverage bottles as weapons.
clashes erupted between student organisations, they called upon their colleagues
outside university for help. Such people bring arms to augment violent clashes.
It is noted that those who bring these arms have gate passes and are not stopped
and subjected to the usual extensive rounds of questioning. According to police
data, in 2007 alone there have been at least 22 clashes on campuses in which
three have been killed and 17 injured. Main student parties involved include
IJT, APMSO, PSA, PSF, JSSF and BSO.
Ironically, at the time of admission,
the University authorities require an affidavit that states that the student, if
found participating in political activities, will be expelled from the
institution. Contrary to this document, the administration of KU and those of
various other educational institutions have repeatedly failed to comply with its
terms, with the result that student political parties continue to
Furthermore, the Sindh Rangers were deputed to stop these clashes
as far back as 1989 and are still present in these institutions. However, even
though numerous clashes have been reported, the Rangers have failed to control
the situation and argue that they are the 'back-up' force. The police are not
allowed to interfere within the limits of institutions but when called upon, it
was observed that they came to help control violence on campus. It is clear
however that the Rangers are not doing their
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