Parents and students on Sunday expressed concerns over the hooliganism and violent acts by student pressure groups in colleges and urged the education department to take note of their ‘illegal’ activities.
An informal survey conducted by The Express Tribune after a clash between two student groups on Thursday revealed that a majority of parents are not satisfied with the safety precautions in public colleges.
“The incident reflects poor safety at public schools and calls for adequate measures to curb such incidents in future,” said Muhammad Tanveer, whose son is studying in 12th grade in Rawalpindi.
“There are different student groups operating in colleges and they remain in arms against each other over petty issues, leading to bloody clashes,” said Naeem Ahmed, a student of Government Postgraduate College for Boys, Satellite Town.
“They are always looking for support from other students and lure them into becoming a part of their group, which disturbs those who want to focus only on studies,” he added.
On Thursday, a student was killed and three others were injured in a clash between 50 armed students belonging to two groups outside the college.
The deceased was identified as Raees of Iqra University, while the injured were identified as Rizwan and Mubashir, students of Swedish College, and Allah Dad, a tea-stall owner, who was hit by a bullet in his neck.
Apart from the human loss, two cars were also damaged, along with numerous bullet marks on the neighbouring houses and shops, creating panic among local residents.
According to the investigating officer Amanat Ali, the clash appeared to have started over wall-chalking on the walls of the college. However, he said the real motive can only be verified after the culprits are arrested.
On the other hand, Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association Rawalpindi Division President Muhammad Ilyas Qureshi said there had been no such activity in colleges ever since General Ziaul Haq enforced a ban on student unions.
“The last student union elections were held in 1988. After that only a few groups of national political parties have been active without any welfare activities for students,” he added.
He was of the view that the regional groups have never been allowed to assemble on campus and their activities have always been discouraged.
The college principal Aslam Javed also rejected allowing any group to assemble on campus or paint their names on college walls.
He blamed the local police for their delayed response, who, despite being warned of the possibility of the clash in advance, arrived at the scene an hour after the incident. “Had the police reached on time, the precious life of a student would have been saved,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2012.