100 hrs hunger strike with mental strength and physical pain

Some of the SUST students on hunger strike are passing times by reading booksAnis Mahmud

Shahriar Abedin is a student of the physics department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. He has been on a hunger strike for the last 100 hours demanding the resignation of the vice-chancellor (VC) of the university. He has been given four bottles of intravenous saline already.

Although he did not have any physical problems at the beginning, he has been suffering from various physical complications since Saturday. However, he is quite strong mentally and believes that their goal will be achieved.

Not only Shahriar Abedin, as many as 24 students of this university started a hunger strike at around 3.00pm last Wednesday demanding the resignation of the VC. One of them had to go home due to his father’s illness. Since then, the remaining 23 students have been on hunger strike. The hunger strike crossed the 100-hour mark by 7.00pm on Sunday.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Shahriar Abedin says his parents are worried about him as he is on hunger strike for a long time. His mother is not doing well physically. He is the eldest among his siblings. The members of his family, including his parents, are keeping in touch with him. These long 100 hours have passed with a lot of anxiety. He took some books to pass the time of hunger strike but couldn’t read it as he couldn’t pay attention. He is suffering from various problems including low blood pressure and pulse rate for not taking food for a long time. Despite the situation, the vice-chancellor is still holding his chair. He does not value the lives of students.

Abdullah Al Galib, another student on hunger strike from the chemistry department, said, “I was worried from the beginning. However, I did not move away from the path of truth and justice.”

The hunger strike crossed the 100-hour mark by 7.00pm on Sunday
Anis Mahmud

Although, he did not have to get admitted to the hospital within the first 100 hours of hunger strike; he has become very weak physically and is suffering from severe headache and stomach pain. He started reading the book titled ‘100 years of World Politics’ at the beginning of the hunger strike, but couldn’t finish it. He said that he could not concentrate on the book.

Galib hopes that the VC will resign very soon. He said, “The VC will resign very soon. We sent an open letter to the president. Only he can take a decision in this regard. Besides, we have discussed the issue with the education minister. We hope that she will take an effective decision in this regard.”

Jahedul Islam, a student of the Department of Economics of the university, has been on the hunger strike for the last 100 hours as well. He said, “I am having difficulty breathing due to the hunger strike. I had to take an inhaler for this. Besides, I have become weak physically.” He has been given four intravenous saline.

Meanwhile, Samiul Ehsan Shafin, a student of the university’s physics department, joined the strike around 11.00pm on Monday. He said, “Almost 15 hours have passed since I joined the hunger strike. I am doing fine as of now. But I am feeling dizzy. The physician said that I would be given saline at night.”

Md Nazmul Hasan, an internee physician at Sylhet MAG Osmani and the head of the medical team treating the students on hunger strike, said 100 hours have passed since the beginning of the hunger strike. The students have been given saline. None of them has taken any food orally. If the situation goes on like this, the physical condition of the student will get worse.

The movement started on 13 January. On that night, several hundred students of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall started the movement demanding the resignation of hall provost Jafrin Ahmed on the allegation of misconduct with the students. Later on Saturday evening, members of Chhatra League attacked the protesting female students.

In protest, the agitated students confined the VC in the ICT building of the university the next day. Then the police beat up the protesting students, opened fire on them and hurled sound grenades towards them. Although the university was declared closed indefinitely and the students were asked to leave the hall at around 8.30pm that day, the agitated students ignored it and continued their demonstration demanding the resignation of the VC.