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Police baton-charge to disperse students of Quaid-i-Azam Medical College

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Police baton-charge to disperse students of Quaid-i-Azam Medical College
BAHAWALPUR: Police resorted to teargas and baton-charge to disperse students of the Quaid-i-Azam Medical College who damaged the college building during a demonstration, demanding exemption of the institution and its hostels from power loadshedding and some other concessions on Thursday.

So far more than 100 students have been booked for rioting and other subversive acts. The students observed a strike, assembled on the college campus and raised slogans against its administration, mainly demanding an end to loadshedding. They pelted the college building with stones, breaking windowpanes of the principal’s office, library and other rooms.

Some faculty members tried to appease the students, but they refused to budge. The administration called in police which fired teargas shells on protesters and baton-charged them, but students continued their protest. Some of the students also pelted police with stones. The police reportedly also fired shots in the air to keep protesters away.

DPO Babar Bakht Qureshi, who was leading the police party along with some DSPs, was reportedly hit by a stone which injured his elbow. He was provided first aid. The police arrested 23 students while others fled to the nearby hostel. The police chased them and laid a siege around the hostel.

A police source said several students suffered injuries in the operation. He said the two foreigners, who were also among those arrested on the charge of rioting, were later released.

According to QAMC Principal Prof Dr Syed Ijaz Husain Shah, the police have registered an FIR against more than 100 rioters, 48 of them nominated. He told Dawn on telephone that to meet students’ demand three days ago he had written to the Mepco (operation) executive engineer concerned asking him to exempt the college and its hostels from loadshedding.

He said the students were also demanding discontinuation of the publication of college magazine and seeking return of the amount they had paid for the purpose. They were also demanding back the annual tuition fee and reduction in the charges for the use of electricity in the hostel rooms.

He alleged some students tried to harass him by damaging windowpanes of his residence on Wednesday. They also tried to damage his car, but on the timely intervention of the watchman, the miscreants fled away, he said. The students also targeted the residences of nine other professors, he alleged.

About Wednesday’s incident, he said some 125 students, mainly of final and third year classes, protested on the campus. He said despite acceptance of their main demands and assurances by teachers, they resorted to violence and to handle the situation police had to be called.

According to police sources, some of the protesting students attempted to kidnap a constable and set fire to professors’ cars and bikes parked outside the principal’s office. The police fired in the air and used teargas and resorted to baton-charge.

The DPO said the demonstrators escaped from the college hostel when the police siege was lifted. He said the police conducted a thorough search of the hostel. He said the kidnapped constable was recovered and a case against the demonstrators had been registered.

It is learnt that several fleeing students have been taken into custody by the police.Dawn