Gilgit, December 1: Two groups of students clashed at the Jutial Degree College during a religious gathering and during the clash a portion of the college’s building was torched. Police resorted to aerial firing and shelling to disperse the clashing groups.
According to details shared by a student who wanted to remain anonymous, the clash started at around 9:30 in the morning when a group of students entered a common hall and started a programme to commemorate Youm-e-Hussain (RA). Students of the rival group, who had gathered outside the hall objected to the programme and demanded halting of the event. Hot words were exchanged, followed by brawls and then pelting of stones, said the student.
He further said that a large number of police and rangers officials were present when the clash started.
“The situation in the college was tense for some days and police and rangers officials were present there to deal with any untoward incident”, he said.
When the students started pelting each other with stones, the police and rangers personnel intervened and some of them were also, reportedly, hit by stones.
One student and two policemen were injured during the clashes.
The law enforcement officials then reportedly resorted to aerial firing and shelling to disperse the fighting groups.
Later, a portion of the college building was put on fire, which was soon extinguished by Rescue 1122 workers who reached the spot on time, stopping the fire from spreading.
The clash reportedly continued for almost two hours and in the meanwhile groups of students from outside also reached the college to support their respective groups.
It is pertinent to note that students groups from two sectarian groups have clashed many times in the past on issues related to organizing religious gatherings.
Similar clashes had also erupted in the Karakuram International University a couple of years ago, resulting in closure of the university for many days.
Later in the day, a protest demonstration was also held in the Kalma Chowk area of Airport Road by supporters of one of the feuding groups.