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National University: Protests flare up demanding continuation of exams

  • Published at 07:20 pm February 25th, 2021
National  University students protests
Students of National University hold demonstrations in the Dhaka's Shahbagh area on Thursday demanding resumption of their postponed examinations Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The protesters issued a three-day ultimatum to meet their demand of holding the exam from late February or early March

The students of National University (NU) on Thursday protested in different parts of the country, including the capital, demanding that their examinations go on. 

Inspired by the successful protest by students of the Dhaka University (DU) affiliated colleges on the previous day, the agitating students of NU demonstrated in Shahbagh to overturn the government decision to hold all ongoing examinations at the university level after May 24.

Earlier in the day, NU published a revised schedule for all postponed examinations following the government’s instructions amid protests.

NU said all the postponed examinations would be held as per the revised schedule from May 24, which is published on the website – www.nu.ac.bd.

The tests include the second year exams for the 2019 Degree Pass and Certificate Course, Masters final examination for 2018 session and all other professional courses.

Students of National University hold demonstrations in the Dhaka's Shahbagh area on Thursday demanding resumption of their postponed examinations Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Agitating students, however, rejected the NU authorities’ decision and issued a three-day ultimatum demanding that the authorities publish a fresh examination schedule from late February or early March and unconditional release of students detained by the police during Thursday’s protest.

AK Al Amin, a third year student in the accounting department of Siddheswari College, said: “We want to sit for the exams within March. If our demands are not met, we will undertake stricter programs across the country from next Sunday.”

Demonstration in Shahbagh

On Thursday morning, several students demonstrated in Shahbagh protesting the move to postpone examinations.

At one point, as they tried to blockade the Shahbagh intersection, the police intervened. At least 10 protesters were detained.

Also Read - National University announces new exam schedule amid protest

Hours later, the Shahbagh police station said it had released ten students who had been detained during the demonstration.

Police detain a student during a demonstration at Shahbagh in Dhaka on Thursday Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

“The students were handed over to their guardians following interrogation,” Mamun-or-Rashid, officer in-charge (OC) of Shahbagh police station told Dhaka Tribune.

Protest in districts

In Netrokona, several students of NU were injured as police dispersed them by baton-charging during demonstrations in the district town.

NU students in Madaripur blocked Madaripur-Shariatpur local highway demanding a resumption of scheduled exams and later postponed issuing a 24-hour ultimatum.

In Sylhet, a procession was organised by the agitating students under the banner of “General Students of Sylhet”.

 Students of Government Saadat College in Tangail held a human chain while students of Government BM College in Barisal students held a protest rally and blocked the Notunbazar-Notullabad Street to press home their demand.

Protest by students of Home Economics College 

Students of Home Economics College, which is also affiliated under DU, tried to block the adjacent Nilkhet road demanding their honours final examinations which had been scheduled to start from Thursday.

The protesters alleged that the police had baton-charged the students to disperse them. 

However, Assistant Commissioner (Lalbagh zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sanwar Hossain denied the allegation.

“Their agitation had caused severe traffic grid-lock in the area. At one stage, when they started misbehaving with their teachers, we cordoned them off to their college after taking permission from college authorities,” Sanwar said. 

Faction of DU students call off protest

A faction of DU students called off their protest of reopening dormitories on Thursday. 

Earlier, the students under the banner of “General Students of DU” had issued a 72-hour ultimatum to DU authorities to reopen dormitories on March 1.

Police detain a student during a demonstration at Shahbagh in Dhaka on Thursday Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

A group of protesters claimed that the faction leader Junaid Hossain Khan, who is backed by Bangladesh Chhatra League, was pressured from the organization higher ups to call off the protest.

Junaid could not be reached over the phone. 

Sources said another new group of DU students may resume the protest in the coming days, backed by the quota reformation movement platform, sources said.

Protest in RU and BU 

Rajshahi University (RU) students on Thursday staged demonstrations demanding the continuation of examinations under its different departments, reports UNB.

The students started demonstrations at Paris Road of the university around 11 am and at 1pm postponed their protest programme until next Sunday, upon assurances from the authorities.

Barisal University (BU), students on Thursday blocked Barishal-Kuakata highway, protesting the postponement of the examinations until May this year.

They demanded continuation of all the examinations that started in January last.

What happened earlier

On Monday, the government announced that academic activities at all universities – public and private – would resume from May 24, after Eid-ul-Fitr.

The dormitories of public universities would reopen on May 17.

The decision created a furore among students, which resulted in the ongoing nationwide protests by the university students.

On Wednesday, amid protests over the postponement of the exams, the authorities of the seven colleges affiliated with Dhaka University announced that the examinations would be held as scheduled with a few conditions attached.