LAHORE: Though the clash between Imamia Students Organisation (ISO) and Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT) activists crippled campus life at the Punjab University on Thursday, any serious repercussions are unlikely, senior faculty members and officials in administration believe.
The tensions between the two parties, however, had not let up by Friday. ISO activists held the university administration responsible for the violence. They said that the IJT had been sent by the administration to stop ISO workers from protesting against the VC. “The administration had first allowed us to hold a function [marking Youm-i-Hussain] and then withdrawn the permission. We didn’t hold that function. On Thursday morning we were protesting against the VC when IJT activists attacked us. It was absurd,” an office bearer of the ISO told The Express Tribune.
For its part, the IJT protested outside the Main Mosque in the university after Friday prayers.
They shouted slogans against the VC and demanded that the chief minister immediately remove him. IJT members said that the vice chancellor should never have allowed the ISO to hold the event. “The IJT had conveyed to the students’ adviser that the function should not be allowed on campus and he assured us that it would not,” an IJT member said. He said that the student body had later come to know that the VC had allowed the event under ‘emergency circumstances’.
“We wrote an application at once to the VC and Iqbal Town SP. The VC shouldn’t have allowed ISO to hold the function,” he said.
While IJT and ISO both hold the administration responsible for the clashes, senior faculty members inquiring into the matter believed that a professor from Faisalabad who is in the race for vice-chancellorship may have instigated the clash. “What was he doing near the site of clash? I think he was there so he could give the impression that he could handle the students. But things got out of control,” a PU faculty member told The Tribune on condition of anonymity.
When contacted the said professor said, “I had been invited for a PhD candidate’s viva at the Institute of Education and Research. The examinations controller sent me a letter about it. The clashes had started when I got there. I was about to turn back when the IER head called me up and told me the situation was under control.” The professor denied addressing the students.
A senior official in the administration told The Tribune that the outgoing vice chancellor had allowed both IJT and ISO to organise a function each. He said that the IJT had organised their event first and had given an undertaking that they wouldn’t create any trouble at the ISO event. But then the IJT went back on its word, objected to the ISO event, which resulted in a clash, said the official. He said that the issue would be forgotten by the time the university opens after the winter break.
The classes will resume, on January 3, 2012. By then Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran would have retired and an acting VC will be in office.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.
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