BUET deadlock must be solved


Abrar Fahad. File PhotoA total of 1,650 candidates have been primarily selected in the admission test of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET) for the 2019-20 academic session, but it is uncertain when their classes will begin. Administrative works are going on at the university, but academic works are at a halt.

BUET student Abrar Fahad was killed by members of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student wing of the ruling party, on 6 October. The general students have been staging demonstrations since then. Though the students relaxed their protest for the admission test, they had warned that they would continue the agitation programmes till the students involved in Abrar killing were suspended. BUET authorities have temporarily expelled the accused.

In an 11 October meeting, BUET VC Saiful Islam had to accept a number of demands, including banning student politics. In this backdrop, the agitating students took a mass oath on 16 October calling off their demonstration, but vowed to boycott classes. On Tuesday, they held a press conference and demanded the suspension of the murderers again. They were optimistic that within the next week the investigating officers would file the charge sheet while the university administration too would come up with its report. The teachers' association, despite demanding the VC's resignation, has been running administrative works. Earlier, the BUET alumni association had, too, demanded the VC stepp down. However, VC Saiful Islam said neither he nor the university administration had any failure.

Exams of various departments were scheduled for 19 October, but were not taken due to the student movement. According to the director of the students' welfare office , exams will be rescheduled, but in reality, there is little hope for resolving the crisis unless the students' demands are not met no matter what decisions are taken by the academic council. Three weeks have passed in the meantime without any classes or exams being held. Academic activities of thousands of students are at a standstill.

The government should file the charge sheet for Abrar killing without any delay. All the suspects have been detained among whom many have confessed to their crimes under the Article 165, too. There are CCTV footages involving the murder. There can be no reasons for not submitting the charge sheet. The teachers' association, too, has not changed its position regarding resignation of the VC. They have been trying to communicate with the policymakers of the government.

Feni madrasa student Nusrat murder case proved that it's possible to try the culprits fast if everyone including the investigation officer is sincere. The agitating students need to be assured that justice is possible in Abrar murder case and such crimes would not be repeated.

Such deadlock cannot be continued at one of the best educational institutions of the country. We hope the government will be willing to solve the crisis at BUET, as it did in detaining the defendants of Abrar killing. Let the stalemate at BUET end while the students and teachers return to the classrooms.

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