A quarter is trying to divert the ongoing student movement in Sylhet into a movement against the government, Dhaka University Teachers Association (DUTA) said on Monday.
Students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) continued a fast-unto death strike to press home their demand for resignation of Vice-Chancellor Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed.
The DUTA has observed that students demanded resignation of the SUST VC even though the provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall resigned on their demand.
DU teachers have demanded an investigation into the matter, the statement said.
Expressing a grave concern over the situation centring on the movement, the DUTA has called on the government to ensure an education-friendly environment through discussions.
“We are deeply concerned over the demonstrating students’ health and overall situation arising from the movement. So, we called on the authorities concerned to take measures for the students’ security.”
“Besides this, we are also demanding an investigation into whether anyone is involved in the police attack,” it added.
The teachers held the strike under the banner of University Teachers’ Network at the foot of Aparajeyo Bangla on the DU campus at the noon.
The teachers protested against the attack on the students and expressed solidarity with the demands. They have also demanded resignation of the SUST VC for ordering police action against students.
The participants of the symbolic hunger strike include Prof Anu Muhammad of Jahangirnagar University Economics department, Prof Tanzimuddin Khan of DU International Relations department, Prof Kamrul Hasan Mamun of DU Physics department, former DU Professor Rehnuma Ahmed, JU Professor Saeed Ferdous, Prof Moshahida Sultana of DU Accounting and Information Systems department, Kazi Maruful Islam of DU Development Studies department, Prof Tasneem Siraj Mahboob of DU English department, Prof Samina Luthfa of DU Sociology department, Prof Kajalie Shehreen Islam of DU Mass Communication and Journalism department and Prof Rushad Faridi of DU Economics department.
Meanwhile, the agitating students will not allow outsiders to enter the SUST campus. Everyone must show ID card to enter the campus. They announced the vow at a press briefing on Monday.
The agitators said their movement is non-violent. They don’t want outsiders to come and cause chaos on the campus. For this, they have set up two check posts at the main gate of the university and another gate adjacent to Shah Paran Hall.
On Monday evening, representatives of teachers brought food for the students on the hunger strike, but they did not accept it.
They include SUST Proctor Associate Professor Alamgir Kabir, Assistant Proctor Assistant Professor Abu Hena Pahil, Student Advisor and Director of Instruction Professor Zahir Uddin Ahmed and Bangabandhu Hall Assistant Provost Muniruzzaman Sohag.
Students have already set up a human wall in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s residence on the Kilo Road of the university. They set condition that no one can enter the residence of the vice-chancellor through the human wall without police.
Teachers go back later. The agitating students were chanting slogans, demanding resignation of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin.
Earlier on Sunday night, agitating students cut off the water and power services to the vice-chancellor’s residence.
According to a SUST official, “Power was supplied to the vice chancellor’s residence through a generator after the power was cut on Sunday. Water was also arranged.”
“However, they don’t have much fuel for the generator at the house. They can make do for today (Monday) with the amount that is left,” the official added.
Another employee of the VC house said, “Sir’s (Vice-Chancellor) house is running out of water. With what we have, it will probably continue till the afternoon. However, there is no shortage of food and gas at home. Sir, you may suffer from water crisis from evening. “
Meanwhile, the hunger strike by SUST students demanding the VC’s resignation rolled into its sixth day on Monday with no sign of solution in sight.
Mentionable, 23 SUST students went on hunger strike until death on January 19, demanding resignation of the VC. Later, more five students joined it on Sunday, taking their total number to 28.
A SUST student, who is on the hunger strike to demand resignation of the VC, has undergone emergency surgery. Mahin Shahriar Ratul, a fourth-year student of social science, completed surgery for appendicitis at Jalalabad Ragib Rabeya Medical College at 10:45 pm on Sunday. Even after the surgery Ratul is still on a hunger strike.
Seventeen of the students participating in the hunger strike are currently undergoing treatment at hospitals while nine are still continuing their strike on the campus.
Meanwhile, the agitating students have refuted the allegation that a third party is trying to divert their non-violent movement into a demonstration against the government.
They made the statement while addressing a press conference on the campus.
“We are being presented with various misleading and false information about this logical movement. Doing so could create fog around our non-violent movement,” a student leader said.
The students said allegation of any third-party interference or fuel in this movement is completely baseless.
Students have been protesting since January 13, to realise their 3-point demand including resignation of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall provost Zafrin Ahmed after the provost allegedly misbehaved with a resident.
Three days after their three-point demands, including resignation of a hall provost, were not met, the demonstrators confined the vice-chancellor to the 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 5:30 pm on Sunday. Students reacted by throwing brick chips at them.
Following this, the authorities declared the university closed on the night and asked the students to vacate the residential halls. But the students defied the order and launched their one-point movement.
Students of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Khulna University and Barishal University demonstrated against the attacks on SUST students.