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Over dozen students arrested in Islamabad after protest against in-person exams

Over a dozen students were arrested and scores of motorcycles were impounded after police sought to disperse protesters at Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange against the federal government’s decision to hold in-person exams of classes 10 and 12 from June 23, despite a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Islamabad administration officials and the police said that the students from Rawalpindi and Islamabad in groups started gathering at Faizabad Bridge in the afternoon and their numbers increased to 700 as they blocked the Islamabad Expressway, Dawn reported.

The protesting students demanded the federal and provincial education ministers to reconsider their decision in light of the ongoing coronavirus situation. They chanted slogans against the government, the federal minister for education and other officers of the education department.

As the Covid-19 pandemic forced the educational institutes to remain closed, online classes were conducted only for a short period. Under such a situation, the students insisted that final exams should be taken online.

As the protest turned violent, protesters started damaging private vehicles and also beat and injured the drivers of these vehicles, claimed officials. In response, the police resorted to baton-charge to disperse the protesters, Dawn reported.

The students pelted stones at the police after which the police used tear gas to disperse them, taking over a dozen of protesters into custody.

Later, the arrested students along with the bikes were shifted to different police stations.

The officials said that during questioning those who were arrested failed to prove that they were students and enrolled in any educational institutes. They seemed to be miscreants and had joined the students’ protest to disrupt law and order, they added.

Meanwhile, a gridlock was witnessed on the expressway and other roads due to the protest by the students at Faizabad creating hardship for motorists, Dawn reported.

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