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SUST students continue hunger strike

Demanding VC Farid’s resignation

Published : 20 Jan 2022 10:40 PM

The protesting students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) on Thursday continued hunger strike demanding Vice-Chancellor Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed’s resignation immediately.

At least nine of the 24 students who went on a fast unto death programme since Wednesday afternoon on the campus demanding removal of the Vice-Chancellor have fallen sick as their strike passed the second day on Thursday.

They began the ‘hunger strike until death’ in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s residence at 2:50pm on Wednesday as the Vice-Chancellor refused to resign.

The protesting students passed the whole night under the open sky amid chilly weather.

 Of them condition of Dipanwita Brishty, Kajal Das and Naima Nishat deteriorated.

Later Dipanwita, a student of social work department was rushed to the hospital at about 11:30am but she returned to the hunger strike after receiving primary treatment while Kajal Das was also taken to a hospital at around 1:30 pm.

Besides, at least nine students were given intra- venous saline following the deterioration of their health condition.

They demonstrators also called a physician to enquiry about the health condition of the students who are now on hunger strike. 

And the protesting students vowed to continue the hunger strike until their demands are met.

Besides, several hundred students also continued staging demonstrations on the campus, taking out protest rallies and chanting slogan against the Vice-Chancellor.

A student on behalf of the protesting student on Thursday afternoon read out a statement outside the residence of SUST Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed, saying they are determined not to break their fast until the Vice-Chancellor steps down.

“There is no alternative to Vice-Chancellor’s resignation. Therefore, Farid Uddin Ahmed must go from our campus,” a female student in a written statement said, adding it t is an unprecedented that the students were assaulted by the police at the behest of the university administration, which is against the Constitution.

“Therefore, we are not feeling safe on the campus under the jurisdiction of this Vice-Chancellor,” she said.

Besides, the protesting students alleged that some teachers continued issuing threat them to withdraw the hunger strike and return home.

“There is no scope to hold talks but immediate removal of the Vice-Chancellor,” the statement read.  

Meanwhile, over 100 teachers led by Professor Anwarul Islam, treasurer, of the university have taken several moves and gone to the students on Wednesday and Thursday to settle down the issue through talks.

They also requested the students to break their fast, withdraw the ongoing movement and return home.

But the teachers’ move went in vain as the students did not pay heed to their call.

“The students are not responding us. On the other hand, they have given us some conditions, asking us whether we are stay with their (students) ongoing movement,” Professor Anwarul Islam told journalists on the spot.

He said they assured the students of forming a high-powered probe body to investigate the incident.

“But they have not been convinced yet” he added.

And the protesting students, on the other hand, refused to talk until the teachers joined their call for the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation.

Earlier on Tuesday, they have written an open letter to President Abdul Hamid, also Chancellor of the university, demanding the immediate removal of the Vice-Chancellor.

In their letter, the students alleged that the police charged batons and even fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesting students from near the IICT building on Monday at the behest of the university authorities.

Provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, Zafrin Ahmed was at the centre of the trouble, having reportedly misbehaved with some students.

However, she has resigned from her post in the face of massive protest.

And since January 13, the students have been demonstrating on the campus.  

But on 15 January, the activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League attacked the protesting students in the evening, triggering the movement.

And on the next afternoon, the students confined the vice-chancellor of the university to the ICT Building.

Police fired rubber bullets and fifty sound grenades and clubbed the students indiscriminately to disperse the students.

At least 50 students were injured critically in the police action.

On that night, the university authorities announced closure of the university for an indefinite period and asked the students to leave the dormitories.

Since then, the students have been demanding for the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation and it has now turned into a one point demand.