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Students protest, sit-in for 5 hours, calling for fresh Ducsu elections

  • Published at 08:53 am March 18th, 2019
Dhaka University students, including activists and supporters of different panels who boycotted the Ducsu polls, observe a sit-in protest in front of the DU vice-chancellor's office on Monday, Mach 18, 2019 Focus Bangla

No official authorities responded to the protesters or met them

Students of Dhaka University protested on campus with a five hour long sit-in on Monday, demanding  fresh elections for the Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu).

Several hundred students formed a procession, including activists and supporters of different panels who boycotted the Ducsu polls. Five panels that boycotted the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) polls, held a sit-in protest at the university vice-chancellor’s (VC) office for about five hours demanding immediate and fresh Ducsu elections on allegations of vote rigging.

No official authorities responded to the protesters or met them.

The protesters made a five- point demand which included the resignation of all  officials involved in the election, including the university’s vice chancellor, Dr Akhtaruzzaman, a fresh poll witha  new body within March 31, withdrawal of cases filed against their fellow students, and taking punitive measures against the attackers.

Addressing the protest, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation backed GS candidate of Ducsu, Umme Habiba Benazir,  said: “We protest 11th March’s election that was marred by fraud, irregularities, and vote rigging. We will hold our position till our demands are fulfilled.”

Also Read- Nur to PM: Investigate irregularities in Ducsu polls

She also urged students to stand against a rigged election and demand their democratic rights.

The protesters also announced a boycott of classes and exams as part of their protest but most students attended regular classes and all other academic activities, avoiding the protest program.

“University authorities completed the election in a restricted way. We had asked them to make sure the media had access to voting centres but they didn’t pay attention to our demand. They now want proper evidence while they were silent during the election. How are we going to get proof of vote fabrication now?” said GS candidate of Swadikar Swatantra Parishad, ARM Asifur Rahman, claiming Ducsu polls weren’t free and fair.

Protesters demonstrate a rally demanding fresh Ducsu election at Dhaka University campus on Monday, March 18, 2019 | Focus Bangla

Swatantra Jote (Independent alliance) VP candidate, Aroni Semanti Khan, other candidates of various panels, and protesters were present at the program.

However, the University authorities are now preparing for post Ducsu election ceremonies, while most of the panels rejecting that, are protesting and calling for fresh polls.

The protesters left from the base of Raju Sculpture at 12 noon where they chanted slogans for fresh Ducsu elections.

They later arrived in front of the vice-chancellor's office where they held  a sit-in for five hours.

Also Read- Ducsu VP-elect Nur again calls for fresh elections

The March 11 Ducsu polls, held for the first time in 28 years, were marred by allegations of irregularities. All panels, except that of Awami League's student front Bangladesh Chhatra League, boycotted the elections, alleging fraud.

Most participating panels protested even before voting ended and demanded  fresh elections.

On election day, the university authorities found proof of vote rigging in Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall, where several hundred ballot papers were found in a sack. All the ballot papers were marked in favor of Chhatra League candidates, teachers and students said. The hall provost was removed from duty following the discovery.

Allegations were also raised in Rokayyah Hall where students discovered three ballot boxes outside the booth during the elections.

Chhatra League's panel dominated the polls but their vice presidential candidate was defeated by Quota Reform Movement leader, Nurul Haq Nur.

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