Student groups clash over Valentine’s Day celebrations in Peshawar
Peshawar: A student was injured and hostel rooms were torched as members of the Pakhtun Students Federation (PkSF) and Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba (IJT) clashed at the University of Peshawar (UoP) campus Friday due to dispute on celebrating the Valentine’s Day.
The police registered the first information report (FIR) against some activists of the PkSF, who allegedly resorted to firing during the clash and injured one Mohammad Rizwan of the IJT. Some rooms were also ransacked at the triplet hostels in the New Block.
The university administration constituted an inquiry committee headed by senior faculty member Dr Mirajul Islam Zia to look into the matter. The (IJT), a student organisation affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami, has been observing February 14 as “Haya Day” to promote modesty for the last several years across the country. The day is also celebrated as Valentine’s Day by certain students groups and by people from other walks of life.
On Friday, the IJT activists gathered at the Islamia College University (ICU) under their campus head Shah Zaman Durrani and University of Peshawar chapter President Hizbullah.They started a walk, which they referred to as “Haya Walk” holding banners and placards. The IJT activists passed through various roads, hostels and departments of the three universities, including ICU, UoP and University of Engineering and Technology. They reached the Sheikh Taimur Block, the new academic block of the UoP, where the incident took place.
The activists of PkSF had also arranged a walk named “Valentine’s Walk”. The two students’ groups came across each other at the Sheikh Taimoor Block of the university and started arguing and clashing. Some of the students allegedly started firing in which an IJT activist sustained injuries. He was taken to the nearby Khyber Teaching Hospital and hospitalized.
A heavy contingent of police arrived at the scene to control the situation. Police were also seen firing into the air to disperse the clashing students. Thirteen students were arrested as well. According to the police report, some armed activists of the PkSF resorted to firing and a case was lodged against them.
IJT office-bearer Hizbullah said that the activists of PkSF attacked them after their walk had concluded and they were heading to the mosque for prayers.”They started beating up our colleagues and opened fire. One of our colleagues sustained injuries in the incident,” he alleged.
In a press statement, the PkSF provincial president rejected the involvement of his fellows in the firing. He alleged that the IJT “hooligans” attacked them under the patronage of the provincial government to disturb the peaceful environment at the university.
He accused the university administration of remaining silent over what he termed the violent activities of the IJT. He said that their rival group ransacked their rooms in the hostel and set their documents and precious items on fire.