The protesting students also responded to the idea of a meeting with the education minister. They were even willing to travel to Dhaka to meet the minister.

But in the evening they came away from that position, and said that if the minister wants to solve the problem, she has to visit the SUST campus, or hold the meeting virtually.

“We will not go to Dhaka - the discussion will be held in Sylhet, not in Dhaka,” said Shahriar Abedin, a spokesperson for the protesters.

Earlier, a group of Bangladesh Awami League leaders led by its central organising secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel spoke separately with the students and then vice-chancellor professor Farid Uddin Ahmed regarding the issue.

So far, 13 of the 24 protesting students, who commenced the hunger strike since Wednesday have been hospitalised.

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

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

Hours before, 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.

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 demonstration demanding resignation of the VC.

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