The hunger strike by the students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) demanding the vice-chancellor’s (VC) resignation entered the sixth day on Monday with no sign of ending the stalemate in sight, reports UNB.
On Sunday afternoon, four more students joined their fellows in the hunger strike. With this the total number of students on hunger strike increased to 27.
The unrest at the university deepened on Sunday evening as the protesting students cut off the power supply of VC’s residence.
On day five of the hunger strike, some 15 of the 23 students on hunger strike since Wednesday were admitted to different hospitals in the city.
The students went on the strike until death demanding resignation of university VC Farid Uddin Ahmed following the police action on the protesting students as his behest on 16 January.
The police charged batons, fired sound grenades and shotgun bullets to disperse the protesters on Sunday afternoon. At least 40 people were hurt, including teachers, students and police personnel, during the clash.
Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed was confined in the ICT building of the university by the students for three hours before that.
A provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, a dorm for females, was at the centre of the initial troubles as she reportedly misbehaved with some students on 13 January. She has already resigned from her post, citing health issues.
Zafrin’s removal as the provost of the residential hall for female students was one of the major demands of the students protesting on the campus. Later the demand turned to the removal of VC Farid Uddin Ahmed.
Inconclusive meeting with Dipu Moni
Although there was an hour-long virtual meeting between education minister Dipu Moni and protesting students of SUST early Sunday, no solution is in sight yet to break the protracted standoff on the campus.
After the meeting, the students decided to continue the hunger strike, representatives of the dissenting students said.
They claimed that no discussion was held at the meeting over the VC’s removal or sending him on leave.
The students said they want to continue the discussion but they will not break the hunger strike.
Dipu Moni suggested the students submit their demands in writing and then she will go for the next step.
Statement from the teachers of SUST
The teachers’ association of the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) urged the government to form a neutral probe body to investigate the police action on protesting students on 16 January.
The association said this after a meeting at the central auditorium of the university on Sunday.
The teachers demanded the government take actions against the accused after the investigation.
The association announced a four-point charter of demands from the teachers to solve the ongoing unrest on the campus.
They sought the government's assistance to do what it takes to break the hunger strike of the protesting students.
The association said the government has the jurisdiction over vice-chancellor’s resignation but it urges an immediate step in this regard.
It also urged not to take any violent actions against the students.