The country’s premier Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in an unprecedented decision on Friday banned political activities of all organisations on the campus almost a week after the brutal murder of one of its pupil, Abrar Fahad.
It also suspended 19 students who have been shown accused in the murder case.However the students continued to protest and threatened to shut down the university if the remaining eight demands were not met by Monday refusing the Vice Chancellor’s request not to stop the admission tests.
Vice Chancellor Prof Saiful Islam announced the ban decision after a meeting with general students who have been demonstrating since the killing of their fellow student Abrar almost a week ago.
The two were the main demands of protestors, many of whom were seen weeping, who had braved scorching sun and rains to achieve their objectives, including exemplary punishment of those involved in the brutal murder.
“Based on the powers vested in me, I am announcing the ban on political activities of all organisations in this university,” Vice Chancellor Islam told the representatives of the agitating students on Friday.
The development comes following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina strong stand on the issue and she had told a press brief two days ago the decision to ban campus politics was a decision that BUET has to take.
This ban however does not affect students’ union politics which would have no links with political parties and would work for the welfare of the students studying there.The first and most sensational incident of student killing was the murder of seven at the Dhaka University’s Mohsin Hall in 1974. The accused belonged to the BCL, but Bangabandhu’s government did not show any mercy. He was arrested and sentenced to life for the murders along with few others.
But when General Ziaur Rahman seized power after the 1975 coup, he pardoned all of them for apparent political mileage – an alleged buy-off for supporting the military government.
Since then all other similar incidents were either still in courts or the accused were release due to manipulated charge sheets.
The accused nineteen students are: Mehedi Hassan Russel, Muhtasim Fuad, Anik Sarkar, Mehedi Hasan Robin, Akash and Tanim of Chemical Engineering.
Iftee Mosharaf Shokal of Biomedical Engineering, Moniruzzaman Monir of Water Resources, Meftahul Zion of Marin Engineering, Majedul Islam of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Mojahidul and Zishan of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Tanvirul Abedin Ethan, Hossain Mohammad Toha, Shadat , Moyaj and Montasir Al Jemi of Mechanical Engineering and Shamim Billah of Marin Engineering.
The meeting started at the auditorium of the BUET around 5:30pm in presence of media.
The students and the VC Thursday agreed to sit to put an end to the chaotic situation on the campus over Abrar’s death.
Earlier, the infuriated students of BUET continued their protests for the 5th consecutive day on Friday demanding death-penalty for Abrar’s killers and had threatened a complete lockdown unless the VC met them as well as fulfill their demand.
Several hundred students of the university gathered in front of the Shaheed Minar of the university around 11:20am with placards and chanted different slogans demanding capital punishment of Abrar’s killers.
The demands also included banning party politics on the campus, expulsion of all the identified killers from the university for life within 72 hours, trial of the case under a special tribunal, expulsion of the raggers who mentally and physically torture students for differences of opinions, bearing all the expenses of Abrar murder case by the BUET administration and compensation for Abrar’s family.
Abrar, 21, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering department of BUET, was beaten to death by BCL men at the Sher-e-Bangla dormitory on the university campus.
He was found dead on the staircase of the dormitory early Monday.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said, the killing of Abrar could have been avoided had the BUET administration were more alert about the happenings on the campus.
The home minister told reporters Friday that “The law enforcement agencies have been working and the charge sheet will be submitted before the court soon.”
The minister said “Those who were involved in the murder have been identified with the help of CCTV video footages.”
Replying to a question about raiding university dormitories, Kamal said, following the prime minister’s directives that would happen in due time.
“Police will search dormitories of the universities and colleges to avoid any untoward situation,” the minister said.