Women`s cricket match cancelled, journalist thrashed at KU
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By Faiza llyas | 11/3/2015 12:00:00 AM
KARACHI: The last week controversy over a cricket match at Karachi University that resulted in a clash between two students` groups took a new turn on Monday when security staff manhandled one of the journalists who had come to the campus to cover a women`s cricket match.

The situation turned so tense that the security staff closed the main gates, disallowing everyone to enter or leave the campus for almost three hours.

While classes were not suspended due to the chaos, thematch could not be held.

The women`s cricket match, sources said, had been organised by a third students` group in protest over the alleged thrashing of girls by another group that objected to their participation in a mixed-gender match.

The trouble, they said, started in front of the arts faculty lobby where a large number of media persons, members of students groups and security staff had gathered.

`The university security staff didn`t want the event to be covered and had an altercation over this with a journalist working with a news channel,` said a teacher, adding that the security staff beat up the journalist when he allegedly used abusive language against them.

The situation, the sources said, worsened as the teaching and the non-teaching staff were on one side and media persons on the other protesting against their colleagues` maltreatment.The non-teaching staff demanded an apology from the journalist and that the authorities ban his entry into the campus, while media persons asked that campus security officer be removed from his position over the issue.`The security staff closed down the main entrances of the university and the administrative block at around 12.45pm in protest against the journalist who allegedly used abusive language against the campus security officer,` said a teacher who was part of the negotiations team that held talks with the agitating journalists.

`As the gates remained shut, the journalists who went to the vice chancellor office to register their protest remained confined in his office till the tension was over,` the teacher added.

KU students` adviser Dr Ansar Rizvi said: `The authorities sorted out the issue of today`s cricket match with the students` group that later convinced the univer-sity girls not to play the match.

`The happenings between the security staff and journalists were, however, regrettable.

KU registrar Dr Moazzam Ali Khan also regretted the thrashing of a journalist on the campus by the university security staff.

About the two clashes on the campus within the span of a week, Dr Khan said the university set up two committees which would furnish reports to the disciplinary committee, a statutory body of the university, for action.

He said one of the teams was tasked to identify the girls who had been allegedly beaten up by the students` group on Oct 28.

The other committee was told to investigate the Monday events that led to the clash between the media persons and the security staff, he added.

In reply to a question, he said: `Yes, there was chaos on the campus for about two hours. A harsh argument resulted in the thrashing, which is unfortunate.`About the last week incident, we haven`t yet received any complaint in writing by the female students and there is no record that they received treatment for alleged injuries,` he said.

The teachers who Dawn spoke to appeared divided over the severity of the Oct 28 clash. A male student was injured in the incident, while some girls playing cricket match with their male colleagues were allegedly beaten up by members of a students` group.

Some teachers were of the opinion that the issue had been blown out of all proportion by the media and the girls had not been beaten up at all. Some other teachers, however, believed that the administration was showing leniency in handling the situation.

`The university should have investigated the incident thoroughly by now and punished the students who were involved in beating students,` said senior KU teacher Dr Riaz Ahmed.`It is ironic that the university rusticates a student for inviting a model to the campus but fails to identify the students who suffered violence on the campus and punish the culprits involved in the incident,` he said.

Syed Uzair, administrative incharge of the Islami Jamiat Talba in KU, the student group accused of beating up girl students, denied that a clash involving their group occurred last week over a cricket match.

`No cricket match was being played. In fact, girl and boy students, some of whom were representing the Punjabi Students Association, were sitting together when they found one of our boys alone and beat him up. That led to the clash last week,` he claimed, saying that only three boys were injured in the clash and were treated in the university clinic.

`Our organisation supports women sports and organises their sport events regularly,` he said in reply to a question.