Students resort to rioting over bid to vacate Islamia College building

Karachi:February 17:Police baton-charged and fired teargas shells at protesting students of the Islamia College who staged a demonstration on Friday after the police, along with a court bailiff, made efforts to vacate the college building, in line with rent controller’s orders.

The students had gathered outside the college at around 10am and set ablaze tyres and furniture to block vehicular traffic on New MA Jinnah Road. The police, subsequently, used teargas shells and water canons to disperse the protesting students and opened the road for traffic. While the police registered an FIR against the protesters for interfering in implementation of court orders, no student was arrested.

On the other hand, both the factions of the Sindh Professor and Lecturer Association (SPLA) condemned the “forced clearance of colleges in Sindh” and demanded of the provincial government “to take action against corrupt officials of the education department who had not properly pursued such cases the courts”.

A trial court had issued the order to vacate the college building on November 23 last year after the Islamic Education Trust, under which the college operates, claimed ownership of the college’s complex. The court had ordered to seal the building and hand it over to the trustees.

The police had also made an attempt earlier on November, 2017 to vacate the college building where around five state-run educational institutions were functioning. However, the students had staged a protest to stop the police at that time too.

The protesting students had stressed that they would not accept any decision regarding vacating the college’s complex. A local court was appealed by the college’s students and faculty to set the rent controller’s decision aside.

Instead of following the case in court, the Sindh government offered a new complex to the college students and faculties. However, they turned down the offer, demanding being allowed to continue their studies in the college building. They called on the Sindh government to take clear measures to save education and the college.

The SPLA group led by Prof Feroze Siddiqui said on Friday that education department had not perused the Islamia College’s ownership case in the court. He said the students were not ready to vacate the complex and they would continue protesting against the eviction. He demanded of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto notice and provide an opportunity to the education department to present its case. He said now the education department was ready to properly present the case but the high court was not ready for it.

Similarly, the SPLA faction lead by Prof Shabahat Raza and others said the protesting students had a constitutional right to save their college from eviction. They maintained that “the trustees wanted to take hold of the precious land of the Islamia College worth billions of rupees.”The news.