By: Khalilur Rehman Bacha
MINGORA: Scores of students on mounted a demonstration in protest against the renaming of their college in Saidu Sharif as the “Government Post-Graduate Malala Yousufzai College for Girls” and set a three-day deadline for the reversal of the decision.
A group of students resorted to hurling stones at and tearing up of a giant portrait of Malala installed in front of the college building. They cited security concerns as the main reason behind their protest.
The enraged students chanted slogans against the government and said the decision to rename their college had made them vulnerable to militant attacks. They said they would continue to hold demonstrations against the move until the decision was withdrawn.
The authorities named the college after Malala in recognition of her stance on girls’ education following an unsuccessful attempt by Taliban to eliminate her. She is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Birmingham. Police reached the college to control the situation and district administration officials tried to pacify the students.
Later, Swat DCO Kamran Rehman told journalists that police, army men and paramilitary personnel had been put on ‘red alert’ to remove the apprehensions of the students. Talking to Dawn, Mr Rehman criticised the students for tearing up Malala’s portrait and said the 15-year-old girl had put her life in danger for the sake of the other girls of Swat.
He said that on his own he could not reverse the decision but added that he would forward the protesters’ demands to higher authorities. Mr Rehman said all arrangements had been made to ensure the security and safety of the students.