Kohat police, students clash, 250 arrested

KOHAT, June 24: Three students and a policeman were injured in baton charge and stone pelting when hundreds of protesting students of Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) and riot police clashed here on Friday.

The students, earlier, had blocked the University Road for several hours to protest against the delay in issuance of degrees to their former colleagues despite payment of fee long ago.

The police also arrested 255 students of different departments and locked them in the police lines and declared several others as proclaimed offenders. Besides, cases have been registered against the students with the Jarma police station on the complaint of the university administration for creating disturbance in the annual examinations, which started on Friday.

Talking to this correspondent at the scene of clash, some of the students said that they were holding a peaceful protest to demand issuance of degrees to their colleagues, but the police raided their hostels by breaking the doors and windows and manhandled them.

“We have learnt that the vice chancellor has given a free hand to the police to deal with the situation. We were infuriated at the use of brute force and firing in the air because we were expecting to talk out the issue with some senior officials of the university,” they said.

Sources said that the students scuffled with the police who had surrounded the whole campus and also entered the university in large number.

The KUST administration on the other hand alleged that the students were making their demands heard through illegal means and ransacking offices, which forced the VC to seek police`s help.

It was learnt that police would remain deployed in the university till restoration of normalcy.

This correspondent tried to get comments of the KUST administration on the issue, but none of the officials wanted to talk about the incident. When contacted, the controller of examinations said that he did not know anything about the situation as like other staff he had been asked to lock his office from inside.

Mr Murad, the KUST public relations officer, also did not answer calls on his mobile phone since morning.

However, the sources said that negotiations were still going on between the KUST administration and parents of the students for their early release and hundreds of people had thronged the police lines where the protesting students had been detained under strict security. Earlier, they were moved from the Jarma police station, located close to the university, to police lines fearing attack by the students to free their colleagues.

The police said that the students had been booked for attacking the examination section and stopping the candidates from sitting in examinations.

Hospital sources said that the three students and one policeman who had sustained minor injuries had been discharged after first aid.

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