HYDERABAD: Sindh University (SU) had barely returned to normalcy after a professor’s murder two months ago when a student was gunned down and two others were shot at the Faculty of Arts on Wednesday.
The second-year student of Information Technology, Deen Muhammad Dal, was killed after a brawl between the student wings of political parties.
At a university with more than 25,000 students, this is already the second murder this year. Moreover, it was only the second day of regular academic activities at the university after a two-month long teaching boycott by the SU Teachers Association (SUTA) against the killing of Prof. (Retd) Bashir Channar on January 2.
This is not the first time violence has struck the university. Two SU students were killed in 2011, Babar Sandhilo on February 10 and Rameez Sohag on March 30.
The Jeay Sindh Student Federation (JSSF) claimed that Dal and the other two who were injured, Kamran Lashari of Rural Development Department part II and Abdul Ghafoor Noohani of Psychology Department part II, belonged to their group. The attack was reportedly carried out by the students of Muslim Students Federation (MSF), the student wing of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional of Pir Pagara as party slogans were allegedly shouted on the occasion. The MSF leaders have not commented on the incident.
However, JSSF’s provincial general secretary, Safdar Tunio, refused to name anyone. “The names of those involved will only be mentioned after a proper inquiry from the JSSF students who were attacked,” he told The Express Tribune. “At the moment we are preoccupied with the burial of one friend and the treatment of two others.”
Although no names were taken, Tunio did point a finger at ‘hidden hands for perpetuating violence to harm the education process of the Sindhi youth at the university’. Tunio alleged that around 80 to 90 attackers, who were armed with sticks and guns, assaulted the three JSSF students before shooting them.
According to Dr Kashif Memon of Liaquat University Hospital, Jamshoro, Dal died before he was brought to hospital. He was shot in the left side of his chest, the left arm and the right shoulder. Both the injured students, who received two gunshots each in the abdomen, were shifted to the Hyderabad Civil Hospital in a critical condition. The enraged students blocked the Indus Highway for over three hours on two different locations in Jamshoro. They ended their protest after the acting vice-chancellor, Dr Parveen Shah, personally assured them of prompt action against the killers.
“A student from the commerce department has been identified in the attack and we are also confirming the other two names,” Dr Shah told The Express Tribune. An FIR will be filed against the suspect, Zahoor Hussain Malano, and he will also be expelled from the university. But the police investigation has not started yet. “We will take action after registration of the FIR,” said the Jamshoro SHO Muhammad Suleman Jaiser. A case is expected to be registered today, said Tunio.
Little less conversation, little more action
Meanwhile, the acting vice-chancellor called a meeting immediately after the incident which was attended by the police and rangers authorities besides SUTA. Dr Shah said that if necessary, she would allow the law enforcers to carry out search operation for weapons in the hostels. “We will also ban the entry of vehicles inside the campus by arranging a parking near the central library which is a distant location from the faculties and departments at the campus.” Body searches will also be conducted of suspected students.
Although the teachers support the strict security measures, they are not completely satisfied with these measures. SUTA’s president Dr Azhar Ali Shah accused the police and rangers of failing to maintain a peaceful environment at the campus. “Yesterday, shots were fired outside IBA and a few days back at the IT department,” exclaimed Shah. “The police failed to control the fight on Wednesday and arrest the killers, even though the Arts Faculty has only two entrances where security personnel are deployed.” SUTA has continuously called for the removal of police and rangers from the campus by bringing a private security system, similar to the other two public sector universities in Jamshoro.
Shah has also demanded a judicial inquiry of the student’s killing by the judge who is currently investigating Prof. Channar’s murder. The university has announced three days of mourning but the teaching process will continue uninterrupted.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.