Student activists unhappy over rejected admissions barged into exams at the University of Karachi on Friday and to the horror of their peers, ripped up their answer sheets and admit cards.
Just half an hour after the exams started at around 10am, the activists forced the students to leave many of the examination centres, including those set up in the departments of mathematics, geography, geology, environmental sciences, library science, zoology and physiology.
“I was busy doing my paper when I heard some noise as if some people were fighting with each other,” said MZ, a BCom student, who was inside the centre at the department of mathematics. “The invigilator consoled us saying it was nothing, concentrate on your paper. But a few moments later, dozens of young boys entered and snatched our admit cards and answer sheets,” he said, adding that those who resisted were badly beaten while protesters also smashed window panes and damaged furniture.
The university is holding BA and BCom examinations for students from external colleges and private candidates. Around 20,000 students were appearing for the Bachelor of Commerce’s economic analysis and policy course and the Bachelor of Arts’ mass communication and geography courses.
While there was no disturbance at exam centres in the arts faculty, centres mostly in and around the science faculty were targeted by the activists of student wings of political parties that have formed an ‘alliance’ to press for their demands for nearly 400 admissions.
University officials said the activists of the People’s Students Federation, Imamia Students Organisation and Punjabi Students Association were involved in Friday’s incident. “By resorting to such tactics, these organisations are forcing the university administration to comply with their demands relating to the admissions policy,” said an official.
Student SS told The Express Tribune that he was at the centre in the geography department when he saw students, clutching their bags and belongings, running away from the nearby examination centres. “Our invigilator, fearing a clash between political parties, advised us to leave the centre,” he said. Friday’s incident sent at least six injured students to the medical centre inside the university with minor cuts and bruises.
As the protesting activists continued to disrupt the examinations for almost half an hour, no university official or Rangers personnel intervened to control the situation. However, when it was over, a lone Rangers mobile arrived and stationed itself in front of the administration block. “What purpose do they (Rangers) serve? The miscreants are roaming freely, harassing the students, but they are only watching this as silent spectators,” said JH, a student from the exam centre at the library science department. Later on, hundreds of those students who weren’t allowed to complete their exam gathered outside the administration block to protest. They demanded the university hold their exam at a later date with proper security.
The controller of examinations, Professor Javed Ansari, told The Express Tribune that the university has decided to give them two choices. “They can choose to get average marks that will be given according to the average of the rest of their papers or they can choose to re-appear in the exam scheduled for February 1.”
* The names of students have been withheld to protect privacy
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.
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