12 students hospitalised on third day of fasting unto death

Students taking a protesting student of SUST to hospital as he falls sick on 21 January 2022Anis Mahmud

Students taking a protesting student of SUST to hospital as he falls sick on 21 January 2022Eleven of the 24 students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), who have been fasting purportedly until death since Wednesday, have been hospitalised until Friday.

The 24 students began the fasting on Wednesday afternoon, demanding the resignation of the university’s vice-chancellor professor Farid Uddin Ahmed, reports UNB.

While 11 of them have been hospitalised after their blood sugar levels dropped, remaining were being given intravenous saline at the demonstration spot. A protesting student has left the venue early Friday as his relative fell sick.

The protesting students have vowed not to break their fast until the VC steps down.

In the small hours of Friday, the protesting students brought out a torch rally and burnt the effigy of the VC on the campus.

Students tending a protesting student of SUST as she falls sick on 21 January 2022
Anis Mahmud

Hours back, a delegation of teachers met the students and requested them to break their fast. But the students didn’t respond to their request.

On Monday, the protesting students wrote an open letter to president Abdul Hamid, demanding the immediate removal of VC Farid Uddin Ahmed. The president is the chancellor of the university.

SUST was to close, following a clash on the campus between police and the protesting students on Sunday. Its students were asked to leave the dormitories by 12:00pm on Monday.

But the students rejected the notice of shutting down the university for an indefinite period and the direction to leave the halls. Currently, they are staying on the campus.

Students bring out a torch rally demanding resignation of SUST vice-chancellor professor Farid Uddin Ahmed
Anis Mahmud

The students’ movement began on 13 January night when several hundred residential students of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall began movement on three points including the resignation of provost Zafrin Ahmed alleging her misbehaviour with students. She has resigned from her post, citing health issues.

Nazia Chowdhury of physics department has been appointed in her place, said the SUST VC.

On 15 January, members of Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of ruling Awami League, attacked the protesting students in the evening. On the next afternoon, the students confined the vice-chancellor of the university to the ICT Building on the campus. Police opened fire, hurled sound grenades and used batons to disperse the students.

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 conducting the protest demanding resignation of the VC, braving all odds.