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300 SUST students sued over clash with police

Demo continues demanding resignation of VC

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 19 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Police have filed a case against 200-300 unnamed students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) on charges of obstructing police from performing their duties and attacking them.

Sub-Inspector (SI) of Jalalabad Police Station Md Abdul Mannan filed the case on Monday night. Md Abu Khaleque, officer-in-charge of Jalalabad Police Station, accepted the case and instructed SI Md Asaduzzaman to investigate it.

According to the case details, the SUST students were staging demonstrations on Sunday to press home their three-point demand, including the resignation of Jafrin Ahmed, provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, and confined VC Farid Uddin Ahmed to a room.

The students reportedly obstructed police from performing their duties around 5:30pm when they went there to rescue the VC. Around 200 to 300 students suddenly attacked the policemen and tried to snatch the firearms of police. They threw brick chips at the police and exploded cocktails, creating panic on the campus, according to the case statement.

Later, police opened fire and exploded 21 sound grenades to bring the situation under control, it said.

Deputy Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police Md Ajbahar Ali Sheikh said, “The case is just a formality as police were attacked and firearms were used to control the situation. No students will be harassed and this was not done to threaten them.”

Meanwhile, the students continued their demonstrations for the sixth-day demanding the resignation of Vice-Chancellor (VC) Farid Uddin and protesting the police action on them. Earlier, they held their protest in front of the VC’s residence till 2:30am on Monday.

At around 10:00am on Tuesday, the agitating students gathered in Gol Chattar area and started chanting slogans rejecting the notice of shutting down the university for an indefinite period and leaving the halls.

A delegation of Bangladesh Awami League, led by its central Organising Secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel, came to express solidarity and participate in the signature campaign during the protest.

Nadel told the protesters: “I am expressing solidarity with you. I also agree with the allegations against the Proctorial Body. We will take care of the injured. The university administration will not be able to take any punitive action in this movement.”

He said, “You give us time. We will look into your issues and discuss your desired demands in due course.”

Asked about the case, he said, “We will look into the matter. We will take action so that no action is taken against the students because of this case.”

A personal secretary of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, who is also lawmaker from Sylhet-1, paid a visit last night. The minister expressed solidarity and assured students that police riot vehicles would be removed from campus.

The agitating students said, “We have taken mass signature and will post a letter to the President Abdul Hamid, who is the university's chancellor, demanding the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor. After sending the letter, we will continue the movement in front of the Vice-Chancellor's residence.”

Students have been protesting since Thursday, calling for the provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall to resign after the provost allegedly misbehaved with a resident.

Three days after their three-point demand, including the resignation of a hall provost, were not met; the demonstrators confined the vice-chancellor to MA Wazed Miah IICT building on Sunday.

To free the VC, police charged batons, fired sound grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the students at 5:30pm on Sunday. Students reacted by throwing brick chips at them.

At least 30 students were critically injured along with at least 10 police personnel and two teachers.

After the incident on Sunday, an emergency syndicate meeting was held on the campus. Later, authorities closed down SUST for an indefinite period of time. All classes and examinations of the university will be suspended until further notice. Residential students were ordered to vacate halls within 12:00 noon on Monday.