'Hardliners tighten grip on Nangarhar University'
JALALABAD (PAN): A Nangarhar University's hostel has become a preferred place for night-time political gatherings by anti and pro-government student unions, some students have said.
A political science student, Niaz Mohammad, said such meetings and discussions took place every night at the hostel. "Organisers invite students to participate in the meetings, sometimes against their will," he said, fearing the increasing political activity on the campus could vitiate the academic atmosphere.
He said some student groups campaigned for the Taliban and others for the Hezb-i-Islami of Afghanistan (HIA). "There are also some pro-government student groups," he said, alleging some students promoted the interest of neighbouring countries.
An engineering faculty student, Sabawon, said it was a matter of great concern that the engagement of students in politics was growing fast. The final year student was not sure if he would be able to receive his degree.
A Shariah Faculty student, who wished anonymity, said some students had received threats through night letters against not participating in political activities.
"Every morning as we wake up, a letter is distributed to students in the hostel," he said, claiming the leaflets carried slogans including "long live Taliban," long live Hekmatyar."
He said the hostel's walls were painted with similar slogans, insisting political parties had tightened their grip on the fresh blood.
He suggested professors should keep an eye on students misled by political forces and keep advising them against the real doctrine behind the involvement.
The university chancellor, Sabir Momand, confirmed some students and teachers had received threatening letters, insisting it was responsibility of the political parties concerned to keep the future builders away from their schemes.
"Our job is related only and only to teaching and education; we have nothing to do with politics," the chancellor said. "There are problems (on the campus) which can be gradually resolved, and security forces are required to help," Momand said.
Security forces have arrested 25 students of the university for their alleged links with anti-government groups. They were arrested in various provinces after they had gone home on vacations about a month back.
Last week, hundreds of students protested against the detention, blocking the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway for several hours.
A senior police official, Masoom Khan Hashmi, said police were on their toes everywhere, and had the ability to thwart any threat.
He said police and intelligence men came up daily with updates on the situation in Nangarhar University.
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