Members of Bangladesh Chhatra League under the banner of “Conscious Students of Dhaka University” have formed a human chain on the university campus, demanding an exemplary punishment of those who “assaulted” DU Vice Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman and damaged the university’s properties during a brawl on Tuesday.
Hundreds of leaders and activists of the pro-ruling Awami League student body took part in the human chain at the base of Raju Memorial Sculpture near the university’s Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) on Thursday.
A graduate student of political science, Benojir Ahmed from the human chain told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are here to protest violence and demand an exemplary punishment of those who ‘assaulted’ our VC.”
The social welfare affairs secretary to the DU Surya Sen Hall unit of Chhatra League also said: “The group of people who are conspiring to destabilize the university’s congenial educational atmosphere must be brought to book.”
Chhatra League’s DU unit President Abid Al Hasan accused left-leaning students’ leaders of “assaulting” VC Akhtaruzzaman.
“Being a student of this university, I demand an immediate expulsion of leaders of leftist student organizations from the university, who ‘assaulted’ the VC in the guise of general students.”
Chhatra League also threatened to go on a tougher movement if its demands were not met.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the organization issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the university authorities to expel them.
On Tuesday, over 100 demonstrators, including leftist student leaders and general students, besieged VC Akhtaruzzaman, protesting a previous assault on them by the Chhatra League men and demanding cancellation of the affiliation of seven colleges with the university.
According to media reports and witnesses, Chhatra League men led by its General Secretary SM Jakir Hossain and DU unit President Abid, however, swung into action to escort the VC away, punching, slapping, kicking and beating up the demonstrators with iron rods.
At least 30 students were hurt in the attack. With severe injuries, 10 of them are being treated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and DU Medical Centre.
Chhatra Dal protests Chhatra League attack
Meanwhile, leaders and activists of pro-BNP student front Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) brought out a procession at the university, protesting the assault on the students by Chhatra League men.
Starting from the TSC, the procession marched through different routes at the university.
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Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) brings out a procession at Dhaka University on Thursday, protesting Tuesday’s attack on the university’s students by Bangladesh Chhatra League men Fahim Reza Shovon/Dhaka Tribune
While addressing the protest program, JCD DU unit President Al Mehedi Talukdar said: "The VC should have been cooperative with students with regard to their demands. But, instead of listening to their demands, he let Chhatra League men assume the role of rescuers to save himself.”
Expressing solidarity with the general students, Mehedi also said they would continue their protests along with the general students until the demands were met.
DUMCJ’s protest program
In the meantime, students and teachers of mass communication and journalism (MCJ) at the university formed a counter-human chain at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture on the campus the same day, protesting the attack on the demonstrating students by Chhatra League men.
Wearing black gags across their mouths, over a hundred students of the department took part in the human chain.
“Students of the university have every right to go to the VC’s office to inform him of their demands, but the VC can never suppress them with the help of a particular student body,” the department’s Associate Professor Fahmidul Haq said, without mentioning the pro-Awami League student body’s name.
Speaking on behalf of the participating students, Tarek Hasan, a graduate student of mass communication and journalism, said it was a shock for them to see the Chhatra League men swoop on the protesting students and attack them indiscriminately with iron rods and sticks.
“We demand the university authorities take immediate actions against the accused offenders.”