Dipu Moni urges SUST students to withdraw hunger strike

43

Dhaka, Jan 22: Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has urged the protesting students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) to withdraw hunger strike and sit for discussion with teachers.

“Any problem of the students can be solved through discussions with the teachers,” she told the media following a meeting with a delegate of SUST teachers Saturday (22 January) at her residence.

“All students are like own children to the teachers. They do not want to see their children in distress,” added the minister.

Dr Dipu Moni sympathised with the students saying acts of police violence on the university campus is tragic.

However, she also noted that incidents of harassing teachers are also unwanted.

Meanwhile, till Saturday evening, 16 protesters, staging a fast unto death in front of VC Farid Uddin Ahmed’s residence on campus demanding his resignation, were hospitalised after they became seriously ill.

Twenty-four SUST students started the strike last Wednesday, demanding the VC’s resignation.

The student protests on the campus began on 13 January (Thursday) as the female students of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall protested “abuses by the hall provost”. Other SUST students joined the demonstration after alleged Chhatra League attacks on the female students.

The situation took a new turn Sunday as police charged batons, lobbed tear shell canisters, fired rubber bullets, and used stun grenades to disperse the students who blocked the VC in his office.  The police attack left more than 40 students and teachers injured, said the protesting students.

Subsequently, the university authorities suspended all classes and examinations indefinitely and ordered the students to leave the campus by Monday noon. Rejecting the order, the agitated students went on protest.

According to students, police attacked and shot at the students on the instructions of the VC.

However, the university authorities defended police action by saying the protestors not only blocked the VC but also threw brick chips on police leading to retaliation.

The police action also drew criticism on social media. The university authorities said they have launched an inquiry into the incident.