By Vijay Sharma
The management of the Sindh University allegedly forced three Hindu students and seven Muslim students to apologise on an affidavit for playing Holi on the campus and their student identity cards were also confiscated by the department.
One of the students confirmed to PakVoices that the chairman of the Mass Communication Department Dr. Badar Soomro told the students that they had violated the rules of the university by celebrating Holi in the campus allegedly asking them to apologise on an affidavit.
The student directly involved in the incident told PakVoices on the condition of anonymity, “The chairman of the department reprimanded us in his office for celebrating Holi saying that we have violated the rules and regulations of the university by doing so.”
The student replied him saying, “There is the tradition of celebrating the festival on the campus and we just followed the tradition.” But according to him, the chairman reacted angrily threatening to rusticate them from the university. Then the demand for an apology on the affidavit followed: “We were asked to write an apology on the affidavit or face expulsion from the university.”
In the affidavit circulating on social media, one of among those students Raja Deepak of Mirpurkhas, studying in the 2nd semester of Mass Communication Department, writes an apology for celebrating Holi in the campus with his friends.
According to the affidavit, written in the Sindhi language, the student promises that he would never celebrate Holi again adding that he feels ashamed for doing so on the campus. He begs the chairman to return back his student ID card.
It is worth mentioning that the chairman of the department Dr. Badar Soomro is also known as human rights activist. The latest episode is a sad reminder of the sorry state of minorities in Pakistan as they continue to face discrimination and restrictions with no guarantee of protection.
Reportedly, the Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair took notice of the issue after it was highlighted on the social media. According to KTN, a local Sindhi language news channel, the governor had called the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sindh asking him to clarify his position in this regard.
Later on, the Vice Chancellor held the press conference at Hyderabad Press Club to give an official version of the incident. He explained that the students were just asked to go just outside the department and celebrate the festival.
However, he condemned the incident of apology on affidavit announcing to form a five-member fact-finding committee. The committee is tasked to submit their report within five days. He assured the aggrieved students that strict action would be taken against the responsible officials if found guilty of stopping the students from celebrating Holi.
Holi was celebrated across the country on March 12 including at the University of Sindh leading to the subsequent incident of apology involving students.
Vijay Sharma is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from in Mithi, Tharparkar.
Edited by Hasan Khan