Student Activists Arrested Under Terrorism Charges Over Campaign For Degree College
In yet another case of suppression of rights protests, police in Kashmore district of Sindh arrested student activists campaigning for education facilities in their area.
According to information shared on social media, Progressive Students Federation activist Sohail Khoso and other student activists were arrested by police.
According to an organiser of the Progressive Students Federation, Sanagar Ali, the students were reportedly demanding the establishment of a degree college and university along with a library in their district. The students and other young activists had reportedly been protesting for three years.
On 7th October, police arrested the student activists under charges falling in the purview of the Anti-Terrorism Act. According to Sanagar Ali, the FIR against them consists of, amongst others, charges of extortion, criminal intimidation, rioting, possession of deadly weapons, unlawful assembly, and criminal assault.
Sanagar Ali shared the details of the arrest on Twitter, calling the incident ‘nothing but a technical and institutional method of silencing & spreading terror among citizens’. He further demanded the release of the arrested activists and the ‘nullification of the frivolous charges’ on them.
On 7th oct, PrSF's student activist sohail khoso and many other peaceful organizers have been arrested with ATC charges leveled against them.#FakeFIR#policebrutality#studentstruggle pic.twitter.com/FAaJUjJxkT
— Sanagar Ali (@Sanagar10) October 9, 2019
Activist Ammar Rashid took to Twitter to express his disapproval of the incident, and stated, “Demanding education (is) now terrorism in Pakistan.”
More mindless repression of students. @ProgStudentsFed student activist & other students arrested & slapped with terror charges by Sindh police in Kashmor for the crime of campaigning for a library & degree college in their district. Demanding education now terrorism in Pakistan. https://t.co/v3DwqQ8XS3
— Ammar Rashid ☭ (@AmmarRashidT) October 10, 2019
While talking to Naya Daur, Ammar Rashid said that resentment among students was rising and this could be partially attributed to the recent education budget cuts amidst rising inflation and a deteriorating economy.
In response to a question about why student activism was being dealt with in such a harsh manner, with them being arrested under charges of terrorism, Ammar said that student movements have always been a cause of fear for governments, as a mobilised student body could create legitimacy issues for every government. He stated this was why we have seen a ban on student unions altogether since the regime of General Zia ul Haq.