Sylhet, Jan 24: The hunger strike by some students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) demanding the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation entered the sixth day on Monday with no sign of ending the stalemate in sight.
On Sunday afternoon, four more students joined their fellows in the hunger strike taking their total number to 27.
The unrest at the university deepened on Sunday evening as its protesting students disconnected electricity supply to the Vice-Chancellor’s residence as he refused to step down as per their demand.
On day five of the hunger strike, 15 of the 24 students on hunger strike since Wednesday 3 pm remained admitted to different hospitals in the city.
Earlier, one of the 24 hunger-strikers had to withdraw from the strike due to his relative’s sickness.
The students went on the strike unto death demanding resignation of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed following the police action on the protesting students as his behest on January 16.
The police charged batons, fired sound grenades and shotgun bullets to disperse the protest on Sunday afternoon (Jan 16) while students reacted by throwing brick chips at them. At least 40 people were hurt, including teachers, students and police personnel, during the clash.
Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed was confined to a locked room by the students for three hours before that.
A provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, a dorm for females, was at the centre of the initial troubles as she reportedly misbehaved with some students on January 13. She has already resigned from her post, citing health issues.
Zafrin’s removal as the provost of the residential hall for female students was one of the major demands of the students protesting on the campus. But it has now escalated to the general students as well.
Inconclusive meeting with Dipu Moni
Although there was an hour-long virtual meeting between Education Minister Dipu Moni and protesting students of SUST early Sunday, no solution is in sight yet to break the protracted standoff on the campus.
After the meeting, the students remained stuck to their previous decision not to break the fast until he steps down, representatives of the dissenting students told UNB.
They claimed that no discussion was held at the meeting over the VC’s removal or sending him on leave.
The students said they want to continue the discussion but they will not break the fast.
Dipu Moni suggested the students submit their demands in a written form and then she will go for the next step.
DU Teachers Network extends support to SUST students
Meanwhile, the University Teachers Network called for a symbolic hunger strike to express solidarity with the protesting students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) demanding the resignation of Vice Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed.
Teachers will take their position in front of Aparajeyo Bangla monument at 12 PM and will continue it till 3 pm.
What SUST teachers say
The teachers’ association of the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) urged the government to form a neutral probe body to investigate the police action on protesting students on January 16.
The association said this after a meeting at the central auditorium of the university on Sunday.
The teachers demanded the government take actions against the accused after the investigation.
The association announced a four-point charter of demands from the teachers to solve the ongoing unrest on the campus.
They sought the government’s assistance to do what it takes to break the hunger strike of the protesting students.
The association said the government has the jurisdiction over the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation but it urges an immediate step in this regard.
It also urged not to take any violent actions against the students.