Saturday, 28 May, 2022

Hunger Strike at SUST

11 students hospitalised

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 22 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
11 students hospitalised

At least 11 students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) have been hospitalised as the hunger strike of agitating students demanding resignation of their Vice-chancellor Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed passed off third day on Friday.

The striking students were taken to hospital as they fell sick following a drop in the blood sugar level. Nine of them were given intravenous saline at the venue.

Nazmul Hasan, a physician of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, said, “Of the sick students, many have asthma problem. As they are not taking food and caught cold, they are being dehydrated.”

However, the agitating students refused to take solid food at the hospital too.

Some 24 students started the fast-unto-death on Wednesday demanding the resignation of the VC. Although most of the protesting students fell sick, they vowed not to break their strike until their demand is met.

In the early hours of Friday, the protesting students also brought out a torch rally and burnt the vice-chancellor in effigy on the campus.

Later, a delegation of the university teachers met the students and urged them to break their fast. But the students did not respond to their request.

Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni invited the agitating students of SUST to talks in Dhaka over the current impasse but they decided not to leave the campus.

A spokesperson for the agitating students told the media that they were not going to Dhaka responding to the invitation of the minister; rather they urged the minister to come to the campus or continue the talks online.

Dipu Moni made the invitation while talking to the students connecting virtually with the mobile phone of Awami Organising Secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel. “I want to talk to you about the current situation of your university and other issues. Please send a delegation for the talks,” she said.

She also said, “I don’t want the students to suffer. If you can come by the evening, I’ll sit with you today. I want a quick solution to the problem.”

Nadel went to the campus with a group of central and local leaders of Awami League to talk to the students and the VC of the university.

After emerging from the meeting with the VC, Nadel connected the education minister with the students.

Sources said the student protests began on January 13 when Zafrin Ahmed, provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, reportedly misbehaved with a student of the hall for reporting mismanagement. 

On January 15, the protest against the provost took a different turn when activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League attacked the agitating female students on the campus.

Following the attack on their fellows, general students confined the VC to the ICT building on January 16 and police charged batons on them and fired shotguns to disperse them.

The police action led the agitating students to seek the resignation of the VC.

 The authorities announced the closure of the university for sine die and asked the students to vacate residential halls on that day but the students said that they would not leave the campus.