Students from Peshawar University were attacked and arrested for protesting.
Students from Peshawar University organized to protest against a hike in their semester fee.
The protest was announced by the Pukhtoon Students Federation which is the student wing for the Awami National Party. The plan for the protest was to organize in the Pearl Lawn, a ground in the university.
The protest was reportedly joined by students from various different organizations including Pakistan Peoples Party, Islami Jamiat Taleba and Muslim Students Federation.
They did not involve police officials till the students started moving towards the administration building which forced the administration to take action. And when the police arrived, it was a full on operation against the unarmed students.
The police used baton charge and excessive force to disperse the students. This resulted in dozens of students getting injured.
And reportedly six students were so badly injured that they had to be rushed to the nearby Khyber Teaching Hospital.
this is brutality. If PTI had 124 days long Dharna (Not a Peaceful) in Isb then it was their Constitutional right but if Peshawar University students do a peaceful protest than force against them?#PeshawarUniversity #SaveUoP #NayaPakistan pic.twitter.com/AAozZ5KbKu
— Zohra (@Zohrakhan1222) October 4, 2018
While the students maintained that the protest was organized solely due to the hike in their semester fee, the Peshawar University administration gave a contrasting statement, saying that this entire protest was because the university had cracked down on political party influence on campus in the previous months and this was a way for students to blackmail the university.
The entire incident was widely criticized on social media.
The leader and face of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, Manzoor Pashteen condemned the entire incident and highlighted the fact that it was the students democratic right to protest.
We strongly condemn Police brutality against students of Peshawar University. Protests against fee increase is an expected reaction from those who can't afford to pay. We demand action against police responsible for this violence. Everyone has the right to protest #DaSangaAzadiDa
— Manzoor Pashteen (@manzoorpashteen) October 4, 2018
Scenes from today’s confrontation at University of Peshawar should worry PM Khan.
PTI was elected into office by the very young people protesting today.
Indifference toward the young voices on whose shoulders your power is built is a bad plan for PMs.
Just ask Nwaz Sharif.
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) October 4, 2018
Excessive use of force agst students of Peshawar University is irresponsible n highly condemnable.The KP govt must make amends forthwith n resolve the issue raised by the student community.
— Fauzia Kasuri (@FauziaKasuri) October 4, 2018
The spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government issued a statement about the incident as well
Shaukat Yousafzai said in the press conference that the incident was sad since students were injured and use of force against students should never have to happen. However, he stated that people should be wary of the story since there was more to it than meets the eye.
He pointed out that the Peshawar University syndicate had decided that the fee would rise by 10% every year even then it had remained unchanged for the last two years.
He stated that the reason behind the protest being the fee hike was not accurate as the students had protested because of the crackdown on political party influence on campus.
The university had searched hostels in the previous months to throw out people who were not students and illegally occupying rooms.
The real motive behind the protest is thus unclear. And while students involved maintain it was because of the fee hike, the university administration and KPK government insist the motives were more political in nature.
What do you think about this entire incident? Let us know in the comments!
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Cover Image Source: Dawn.com