Sunday, January 1, 2012

Police say did not beat up undergrads in UPSI demo

The police have denied beating up several student activists during a peaceful demonstration at the Sultan Idris University of Education (UPSI), saying that there was “no scuffle” when arrests were made.

Students and opposition politicians claimed several students involved in the demonstration for academic freedom were allegedly beaten up and arrested early this morning after refusing to heed a police order to disperse.

Perak Police Chief Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said that “necessary action” was taken to uphold public safety, and one of the students had “injured himself.”

“The students did not adhere to police instructions to disperse and we were forced to move in to arrest them.

“They resisted which could have led to the impression that a scuffle occurred,” he was quoted by The Star as saying.

Mohd Shukri said that one student crashed into the glass panel of a nearby clinic during the demonstration and injured himself.

“He was given outpatient treatment at the Tanjung Malim Health Clinic.

“Another student is being treated at the Slim River Hospital for minor injuries,” said the state police chief.

He said that only two students — Adam Adli Abdul Halim and a female student — were from UPSI.

The other students were apparently from Universiti Selangor (Unisel), International Islamic University of Malaysia (UIA) and the Management and Science University (MSU.)

Adam, a 21-year UPSI student, has come under attack for purportedly lowering a banner bearing the likeness of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak outside Umno’s headquarters in the national capital last month.

Mohd Shukri said all the students should be released by the end of the day.

PKR and DAP have condemned the police for alleged heavy-handed action in dispersing some 60 undergraduates who held a peaceful sit-down demonstration in support of a fellow student activist and academic freedom at UPSI in Tanjung Malim shortly after midnight.

The opposition parties claimed the police, including two Special Branch (SB) officers, showed a heavy presence on campus and took violent action against what they said were 100 students, instead of the 60 estimated by lawyer Fadiah Najwa Fikri, when the undergraduates refused to disperse as ordered.

Up to 17 students were arrested in the 2.30am incident and taken to the Tanjung Malim police station.

One student, Muhammad Safwan Anang, was allegedly beaten up, punched and kicked until he lost consciousness.

The president of student reform movement Gerakan Menuntut Kebebasan Akademik (Bebas) is warded at the Slim River Hospital with a broken cheekbone, PKR said in its statement.

The party claimed he was assaulted by eight policemen and SB officers.

Tanjung Malim police confirmed to The Malaysian Insider 17 students were arrested in the incident but declined to elaborate further as investigations are still continuing.

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