Why I was fined

You might want to read my previous posts on this topic first.

In December 1991 when the incident referred to in my first post happened, IJT had disappeared from campus and MSF ran the place. They intimidated students, faculty and the administration. The college administration was not really interested in controlling the place and the MSF guys considered college vehicles as their personal property. At the time, MSF was planning some sort of big event (I forget what) and had decided to collect “donations”. For that purpose, they set up a road block on the main road close to the university and stopped every car asking for “donations”. This was near the village of Gangoo Bahadur. They also went to ask for “donations” from the village shopkeepers. Now, the denizens of Gangoo Bahadur were not meek folk. They ran the MSF guys off with their axes and other weapons. Later, the MSF guys returned to the shops in a college pickup truck and tractor (referred to in the letter) and in the ensuing fight set fire to the shops. They ran away but a university bus returning from somewhere was pelted with stones by the villagers later that day.

I learnt about this late that night at home. Talking to a few friends, we decided that it was ok to go to the college the next day. The college buses the next morning took a different route to avoid the village. We heard unsubstantiated rumors that armed villagers were planning to attack the university any time.

I was standing in front of the library with a few friends when we noticed a number of police buses pulling up to a residence hall close by. We thought the police was there to protect us, but we were wrong. As the police reached a group of students near the residence hall, they started beating them with sticks. I looked around and realized that my friends were running away from the police as well. I followed them into the main computer lab. I had never seen the lab so full. Someone locked the door and we waited with bated breath. We could hear the sounds of policemen moving around and trying to get doors open.

After a while, there was silence. We waited for a few minutes and then ventured out of the lab. There was no one in the building. We were afraid of being beaten up by the police, so instead of going out we went to the roof to take a look around. We could not see any police presence. Students then started coming out of classrooms, dorms, labs and wherever they were hiding.

We found out that a large number of students had been arrested. I knew 4-5 students who were missing and none of them were involved in politics/gangs. It turned out that quite a few students, especially the more nerdy ones, had hidden in the library but the police got in and arrested everyone there. I think around 50-100 students were arrested in total. They included some of the student group leaders but most were innocent.

My friends and I walked out of the campus and took a bus home. Then we started calling everyone we knew to make sure they were home safe and sound. There were a few that were missing and were assumed to be arrested. All the students except the gang leaders (or student political leaders, if you prefer) were released later that night. The student leaders spent a couple of months in jail. Some of the leaders who had escaped were arrested at the bail hearings of their friends. However, they had managed to hide their guns and contraband when the police raided and so got off lightly.

The university was closed for the winter holidays. When we returned in January, the campus was free of MSF and IJT for the first time. Things were better for a while.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

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