Some refuse to leave as arrested students released in Quetta
Govt promises action, removes SP City: Protesters call for restoration of internet service to take advantage of online classes
A day after the arrest of students protesting over the issue of online classes in Quetta, the Balochistan government spokesperson said most of the detainees had been released but some of them refused to leave the police stations, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Thursday morning.
The spokesperson, Liaquat Shahwani, also promised strict action against those misbehaving and using force against the female students. The SP City had been removed from his post, he said and added that female constable involved in the incident would also face action.
On the other hand, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal said the government did not order the arrests but at the same time claimed that the students were arrested after a scuffle with the police. The police were ordered to release the arrested students immediately, he said.
They are of the view that the move is against the students in a province like Balochistan where the 3G/4G service has been suspended for years. Also, many students cannot afford laptops and expensive internet service where available.
But instead of listening to their justified demand of restoring/ providing internet service before launching online classes, the administration and police showed highhandedness and started arresting them. They dragged the students, even females, into their vehicles while claiming that the arrests were made for violating Section 144.
The police action was taken near the taxi stand as the marchers wanted to register outside the Balochistan Assembly.
Like other parts of the country, the Balochistan government too had closed all educational institutions in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. Later, the educational institutions opted for online classes during this period, after which the students have been protesting against the decision because of poor internet facilities in the province.
The situation of internet service in the province can be gauged by the speech delivered by Akhtar Mengal of BNP-M in the National Assembly during which he had announced to leave the PTI-led ruling coalition.
He said there were no online classes in Balochistan because there was no 3G or 4G service in the province. “No one allows us to be in the line. You are talking about [being] online,” the seasoned politician remarked.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was also among them, as he said, “To protest peacefully is a constitutionally protected right.”
To protest peacefully is a constitutionally protected right. Strongly condemn arrest of students in Quetta! Shutting out voices and high handedness has become a new normal under this regime. #PPP demands #releaseallstudents— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) June 24, 2020
If it weren't terrible enough that there's no internet in many parts of Balochistan in the year 2020, Quetta police arrest students protesting against it and the HEC directions to universities to switch to online classes despite the lack of this facility in the province... pic.twitter.com/x8RO2JVnEi— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) June 24, 2020
Female students from the Baloch Students Alliance arrested by police in Quetta for demanding equal access to online education during a pandemic. First you deprive them of basic internet access, then arrest them if they demand equal rights to education.— Ammar Rashid (@AmmarRashidT) June 24, 2020