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20 protesters injured in attack, BSMRSTU declared shut

  • Published at 08:28 am September 21st, 2019
Students of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) continues hunger strike, for the third consecutive day demanding resignation of their Vice-Chancellor on Saturday, September 21, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Citing security reasons, the university authorities also asked its students to vacate the halls of residence by 10am Saturday

Authorities have shut down the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) in Gopalganj until Oct 3.

The decision was made last morning, in the wake of ongoing demonstrations on campus, where students have been demanding the resignation of Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Khondoker Md Nasiruddin.

A letter signed by BSMRSTU Registrar Prof Dr Md Nur Uddin Ahmed said the authorities announced the decision to shut the university from yesterday, to "ensure a congenial academic atmosphere and avert any untoward incident." 

Citing security reasons, the university authorities also asked its students to vacate the halls of residence by 10am Saturday, it said.

The letter further requested the district administration to impose Section 144, to maintain peace and discipline on the campus.

It requested the superintendent of police (SP) to deploy law enforcement officials on the campus for the same reason.

Also read - Human chain demands removal of BSMRSTU VC

However, residential students alleged that utility connections, like water and power supplies, were disconnected from morning on instructions from the university authorities. They strongly criticized the authorities' decision. 

They also alleged that their meal was not provided on Friday night.

The registrar said the utility connections would remain snapped, since the students had been asked to leave their dormitories by 10am.

20 students injured 

At least 20 students were injured during the attacks that took place in front of the Gobra Mosque, Sobhan Road and Sonakur, Gobra and Balurmath areas in the town.

The demonstrating students alleged that they came under attack by the supporters of the vice chancellor, on their way to the university from Gopalganj town.

However, some of the protesters said the attacks were carried out by outsiders with locally made sharp weapons and wooden sticks.

The injured, including Akhi, a second-year student of the Sociology department, Masukur Rahman of Agriculture Department, Shimanat and Fahd of Economics, Mohd Rakib Hossain of Chemistry, Shakib Hossain, Ashik and Hossain of Chemistry, Rudra of Public Administration, Masud, Shahriar Mizan and Al-Amin of Physics department, were admitted to the Gopalganj 20-bed general hospital.

A group of students were continuing their hunger strike, for the third consecutive day yesterday, in front of the university administration building. 

As the main entrance was locked, another group of students took position in front of it after being unable to enter the university premises.

Police, however, said the students locked into a scuffle with the locals in front of the Gobra mosque, but they managed to disperse the demonstrators.

“Some policemen were also injured when students threw brick chips targeting us during the incident,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Sadar Circle) Mohammad Sanwar Hossain said.

The students said the VC followers barricaded the LGED intersection, barring movement of all modes of vehicles to and from the university.

Also read - BSMRSTU revokes Zinia’s suspension order

Assistant proctor resigns

An Assistant Proctor of BSMRSTU has resigned protesting the attacks on students.

Assistant Proctor Md Humayun Kabir, a teacher of sociology department, submitted his resignation letter to the proctor in the afternoon.

Humayun Kabir said he resigned from his post protesting the attack on the students and expressing solidarity with the students’ ongoing movement.

“I cannot hold this position anymore ethically after the attack on my students," he said.

Also read - BSMRSTU students on hunger strike demanding VC's resignation

Students of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) continues hunger strike, for the third consecutive day demanding resignation of their Vice-Chancellor on Saturday, September 21, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune

What sparked the protests?

The students started protesting when the BSMRSTU authorities issued an order to suspend second-year law student Fatema-tuz-Zinia earlier this month. The university, however, lifted the suspension order on Wednesday night.

Zinia, also the university correspondent for the Daily Sun newspaper, was suspended for her reportedly objectionable comments about BSMRSTU on Facebook on September 10.

An audio recording of an altercation she had with the BSMRSTU VC, in which the VC was reportedly heard verbally abusing Zinia, went viral on social media.

While university authorities claimed her posts tarnished the university’s image, Zinia said she was suspended because of her reports on irregularities and corruption at BSMRSTU.

Ducsu VP demands VC's resignation

Vice President of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) Nurul Haque Nur, on behalf of the leaders and activists of Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council, a platform that spearheads the quota reformation movement, demanded the resignation of the vice-chancellor (VC) of BSMRSTU.

They came out with this demand yesterday at a protest rally at the base of the Raju memorial sculpture near Dhaka University’s (DU) TSC condemning the attacks on BSMRSTU students.

They also declared the VC as persona non grata. 

Also Read - Quota activists, Ducsu VP demand resignation of BSMRSTU VC

Nurul Haque Nur, in his speech, said a culvert bridge was broken so that students of BSMRSTU cannot enter the campus, and then the perpetrators also carried out an attack on the students.

Platform Convener Hasan Al Mamun said: “We will go to Gopalgonj expressing solidarity with the protesting students’ demand of Khandokar Nasir Uddin's resignation, and also announce him ‘unwanted’ there.

Fahim Reza Shovon contributed to this report

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