Over 300 madrassa students clashed with police at Attawa Mor in Gujranwala on Wednesday in a protest against the ‘forced’ dismissal of around 20 teachers at the Al-Madina Islamic University at GT Road.
The students led by Abdur Razzak and Hafiz Naveed, had blocked GT Road for three hours before police led by Saddar SHO Iqbal Ojla, People’s Colony DSP Waseem Dar and City SP Shahid Hafeez arrived on the scene.
SHO Iqbal Ojla told The Express Tribune that they negotiated with students at the madrassa and they agreed to disperse. However, he said some of the students went back on the promise not to block the traffic and restarted their protest. He said at this point police baton charged them to break the protest. He said the protestors threw stones at police and that police responded with teargas.
He said that three students, Umar, Usman and Rizwan had been arrested. He said a case had been registered against the teachers and 50 students.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Al-Madina Islamic University administrator Hafiz Waheed said that the teachers had been asked to resign after an internal inquiry found them guilty of corruption and sodomy. He said the resignations were not forced.
“We wanted to resolve the matter and not embarrass the clerics. We had told students to stop supporting their teachers since allegations against them were proved,” he said.
According to madrassa officials, 20 clerics including Shahbaz, Shaaban, Rauj, Mohammad Khan, Mehboob Elahi, Ikramullah, Liaqat Jalali, Usman Ali, Qamaruz Zaman, Najmul Amin and Qari Fareed had resigned after the inquiry.
Naveed, a final year student, however said that the madrassa administration had fired the teachers without just cause. He said their final exams were only two months away and the students feared that they might lose a year.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2012.