May 2003 News

16 protesters arrested in Gilgit

31 May 2003
The Dawn
Our Correspondent

GILGIT: As protest against the Islamiat curricula entered its fourth day on Saturday, the local police arrested nine people amid boycotts of classes and warning by the administration. The Northern Areas administration on Saturday warned the protesters to shun agitation. In a statement issued here on Saturday the Northern Areas home department said that the matter had already been discussed between the Shia ulema and the high-ups of the federal education ministry who are redesigning the curricula and the ongoing agitations and classroom boycotts were unwarranted. It said that it was the government policy to introduce a non-controversial curriculum throughout the country. The one-year old issue of curriculum, which the Shiite community says is 'in conflict with their school of thought', is yet to be resolved. Meanwhile, the city police claimed to have arrested 9 more 'miscreants' allegedly involved in creating sectarian disturbances for the last three days. They said that raids to arrest more culprits for smashing windows of two schools were being conducted and due to insufficient police force a large-scale crackdown to track the culprits was yet to be launched. Meanwhile, hundreds of primary and secondary school students staged protest rallies on the third consecutive day on Saturday and created disturbance in the city by putting up hurdles and burning tyres. The protest started last Wednesday against the primary, middle and secondary curricula of Islamiat, which turned violent on Friday and dozens of people, including a girl student of Army Public School, were injured besides a woman schoolteacher who fainted when a mob stormed the school. The Army have banned pillion riding in the Cantonment area after attacks on their schools and other installations. The ongoing strike and boycott of the classes against the controversial curriculum turned violent on Friday when a mob reportedly tried to close down an Army-run school in Gilgit.


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