Lahore, Faisalabad student protests turn violent as police baton-charge participants

Students have been protesting against on-campus exams

University students protesting against physical examinations clashed with the police and security guards outside their campuses in Lahore and Faisalabad Tuesday afternoon.

In Lahore, the students of the Central University of Punjab staged a sit-in outside their campus and requested the management to hold talks with them at 2pm.

Salman Sikander, the information secretary of the Progressive Students’ Collective, said that the UCP students started gathering outside the campus at 11am. The students were holding placards and chanting slogans against the administration.

At around noon, the university’s security guards closed the main gate. The students didn’t understand what was going on. They then opened the gates and we saw an entire army of guards coming out to baton-charge the students. “Some even pelted stones at the students, while others threw their batons.” The students just responded to this attack on them.

Some videos of the protest showed students pelting stones at the security guards and trying to break into the campus after climbing the gate.

Many students were injured in the attack. They were moved to the Jinnah hospital.

Five injured in Faislabad protest

Five students were injured in protests outside the NFC University in Faisalabad. According to reports, a guard has been injured too.

A group of over 200 students had gathered outside the varsity in the district Jaranwala protesting against physical exams.

The protest turned violent when they started pelting stones at the varsity's gate and tried to break in. The police intervened, baton-charged the protesters, and arrested five students.

A total of 15 students have been locked up inside the varsity by the management as well.

The students have said that will come outside on the streets again and won't back out unless their demands are met.

Another protest is underway outside the National Textile University located near the Sheikhupura Road in the city. The students have blocked the Green Belt for traffic and are staging a sit-in there.

HEC's role

The HEC does not have any authority of the academic decisions made by the varsities, Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir told SAMAA TV. "HEC only advises them when they consult the body."

He condemned the action taken by the students. "This way anyone will come to the streets and blackmail authorities to take decisions in their favour."

Yasir added that the varsities should talk to students and reach a decision that is acceptable for both the students and the universities.

Student protests in Pakistan

Students across Pakistan have taken to the streets in protest of the universities' decision of physical exams for Fall semester 2020-2021.

They have demanded that throughout the semester, they took classes online, and therefore exams, too, should be taken that way. “The learning management system was broken down most of the times and the quality of our classes were very bad,” one of the protesters complained.

The students have demanded that either exam be taken online or universities should postpone the finals.

“Give us classes on campus for two months and then take the exams,” they said, adding that otherwise, they will continue their protests. Following this, #StudentsWantOnlineExams started trending on Twitter.

Protests ensued in other parts of the country such as Bahawalpur, Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan as well. Following this, a number of varsities such as the University of Management and Technology and the University of Peshawar reverted their decision and postponed the examinations.

Management of universities had earlier said that as the government was reopening universities from February 1, they might as well take exams on campus



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