Monday, 23 May, 2022

Students lay siege to SUST VC’s home

Cut off power connection to press for his resignation

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

The agitating students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) laid siege to Vice-Chancellor Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed’s residence in Sylhet on Sunday to press home their demand for his resignation.

Witnesses said the students cut off the electricity connection to the house of the vice-chancellor. They were not allowing anyone to enter there.

They also said journalists were allowed a conditional entry to the house of the VC.

The agitators said they were forced to lay siege as the VC didn’t resign from his post despite a hunger strike on the campus.

Twenty-four students began the strike on Wednesday to press home their demand for resignation of the vice-chancellor. One of the protesters left the strike after his father suffered a heart attack.

Wishing anonymity, a protester said 16 out of the 23 students observing the hunger strike for over 96 hours were admitted to different hospitals as they fell ill.   

Meanwhile, SUST students announced a mass hunger strike on Saturday night. Later, three more students joined the strike.

Meanwhile, a virtual meeting of Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni with the protesting students ended without any fruitful decision. The students refused to break their hunger strike in response to the minister’s call.

The students told the minister that they wouldn't stop the protest until the VC resigned.

The virtual meeting was held at 1:30am on Sunday at the IICT building on the campus in presence of a delegation from Awami League, led by its central Organising Secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel.

After the meeting, a spokesperson for the protesters told the press briefing that the education minister said the matter would take time to resolve and urged students to end their hunger strike.

“Students told the minister that they wouldn't stop the protests until the VC resigned,” he said.

He also said that the minister has requested that students submit their complaints in written form as soon as possible.

“We will discuss the one-point demand for resignation of the vice-chancellor again and the hunger strike will continue,” he added.

On Sunday, Jatiya Party lawmakers also demanded removal of the SUST VC. Kazi Firoz Rashid called on the prime minister and the education minister to take immediate measures for resolving the crisis.

Another JAPA leader, Pir Fazlur Rahman, MP criticised police action on the protesters.

Students have been protesting since January 13 to realise their three-point demands, including resignation of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall provost Zafrin Ahmed after the provost allegedly misbehaved with a resident.

Three days after their demands, including the resignation of a hall provost, were not met, the demonstrators confined the vice-chancellor at the MA Wazed Miah IICT building.

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

Following this, the authorities declared the university closed and asked the students to vacate the residential halls.

But the students defied the order and launched their one-point movement for the VC’s resignation.

Students in Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Khulna University and Barishal University demonstrated against the attacks on SUST students.