- Can campuses be invaded by law enforcing agencies?
The registration of cases of sedition, rebellion, and rioting by the Jamshoro police against 15 students of Sind University raises many troubling questions. There is a well recognised convention that law enforcing agencies, particularly the police, do not enter the campuses of educational institutions without permission from their heads. This appears to have been badly violated in this case, because the college administration claims that there was no such permission granted. This contradicts the belief of some students that they were being penalised for having been in the forefront of other students, for the more mundane issue of a severe shortage of drinking water in the hostels. That shortage had led to a protest, and some elements are suggesting that the University administration is behind the case. The fact that the case has been registered on November 18, 18 days after the incident occurred, on October 31, indicates that there is more to the matter than meets the eye.
There is also the possibility that the accusations may be a fabrication suggested by the University of Sind’s reputation as a hotbed of Sindhi nationalism. This is not as reprehensible as it sounds, for the Sindhi nationalist parties have joined the mainstream of national politics, and Sindhi nationalism is more a sign of adolescent rebellion than of serious politics. The university administration can be assumed to be conversant with such sentiments, and to know how far any individual might be able to go beyond posturing. This is why university administrations must be involved in criminal cases of any kind occurring on campus. Things seem to have got out of hand at Jamshoro, for the talk of ‘convincing’ video evidence indicates that somebody was able to shoot a video there, apparently with immunity.
The case against the Sind University students should be discharged unless the University administration wants the charges pursued. There should also be appropriate legislation, which would make the university administration formally responsible for all such criminal charges, and for the operations of law enforcers there, and their organisations. That would prevent such a situation as that at Jamshoro arising again.