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DUCSU polls: Protests, processions, hunger strike continue on second day at DU

  • Published at 09:45 pm March 13th, 2019
DU hunger strike
Students of Dhaka University holding a hunger strike at the foot of Anti Terrorism Raju Memorial Sculpture on Wednesday, demanding fresh Ducsu and hall unions elections Mehedi Hasan

Elections to Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) and hall unions were held on Monday amid boycotts and irregularities

Announcement of the Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) election results on Monday (March 11) led to protests, processions, negotiations, and hunger strike which continued for the second day on Wednesday.

Liton Nandi, leader of the leftist panel, quota reform movement leader Nurul Haq Nur, leader of the independent panel, Aroni Samonti Khan, and two representatives from five panels, held a meeting with Vice Chancellor, Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, and submitted a memorandum around 12:30pm on Wednesday.

Emerging from the meeting, Liton said their demands were rejected.

“The Vice Chancellor has rejected our demands and said that the university will file criminal cases against those trying to create anarchy on campus,” Liton said.

Liton Nandi and Aroni Samonti Khan threatened to go for a tougher movement if the university authorities refuse to fulfill their demand of re-polling within three days.

Later, VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman, briefed the media and said that re-election is not possible; instead the university authorities will take stern action against those who are trying to create chaos and unrest on campus.

“Students have given their mandate and it is not possible to re-run the election based on anyone’s demand.” VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman said.Vice-Chancellor of University of Dhaka, Prof. Md.Akhtaruzzaman addresses media at his office at University of Dhaka on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Elections to Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) and hall unions were held on Monday amid boycotts and irregularities.

Quota Reform Movement leader Nurul Haq Nur was elected vice-president (VP) of Ducsu, while Bangladesh Chhatra League general secretary Golam Rabbani was elected its general secretary. Eight of nine secretary posts went to candidates from the Chhatra League panel.Newly elected VP of Ducsu, Nurul Haq Nur expresses his solidarity with protesting students demanding a free and fair re-run of the recently-held election at the Dhaka University campus on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Nur turns 360

Ducsu Vice-President-elect, Nurul Haq Nur, expressing solidarity with protesting students demanded free and fair re-elections by March 31 on Wednesday.

Nur further said: “I will take oath only if the students who voted for me to be the Ducsu VP want it.”

Nur told reporters that “the nation wanted a: free, fair and inclusive Ducsu election. However, the administration held a fraudulent election marred by vote rigging.”

“Despite vote rigging attempts, prominent student leaders, including me and Assistant General Secretary Fatima Akter, have won the polls. I firmly believe that more independent candidates would have been elected had the election been fair,”Nur said.

Their demands include establishing polling centres outside of the halls, voting time to be set from 8am to 6pm, forming a polling committee with impartial teachers, and transparent ballot boxes.

Hunger strike continues

Six students who went on hunger strike at the base of the Raju Sculpture near the TSC 

on Tuesday, continued their protest demanding re-elections to Ducsu on Wednesday.

One of the students observing the hunger strike, Rafia Tamanna—a third-year student of the Mass Communication and Journalism department of Dhaka University (DU)—said none of the candidates contesting from Swadhikar Swatontro Jote won, due to vote rigging and irregularities.

She demanded the university authorities announce fresh polls and punishment of those responsible for vote rigging.Dhaka University Chhatra League General Secretary, Saddam Hussain addresses the press in front of Madhur Canteen  at Dhaka University on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune

Chhatra League’s counter protest

Chhatra League activists formed a human chain at the TSC circle on Wednesday afternoon.

The newly elected Assistant General Secretary, Md Saddam Hussain, addressing the media in front of Madhur Canteen, said Chhatra League's victory in the recently-held Ducsu polls reflects the choice of the general students of Dhaka University.

Saddam, rejecting all allegations made against Chhatra League vowed to fulfill the promises they made.

Responding to a question regarding the allegations of irregularities in the polls, he said:"We are not responsible for the Maitree Hall incident. Even the ones making the allegations could not blame Chhatra League for the pre-cast ballots. In fact, because of this incident we were unable to secure all the posts in the polls."

"I believe the the university authorities and administration will find the ones responsible for this," he added.

Procession on campus

Around 10:00pm, some 100 students of Ruqayyah Hall held demonstrations inside the hall demanding re-elections and resignation of their provost, citing “vote rigging”.

At 12:00pm a large procession including students, candidates, and supporters of five Ducsu panels, gathered in front of VC Prof Akhtaruzzaman's office and protested the results of the Ducsu polls.

A few of them went inside the VC’s office, while the rest sat in front of the office.

Three elected panels also demand re-polling

Elected Independent panels of three female dormitories expressed solidarity with the students of Ruqayyah Hall who were on strike from Tuesday night till Wednesday 9am, demanding the resignation of the hall provost and a fresh election to the student union, alleging the earlier one was unfair. They also demanded the withdrawal of false cases filed against students.

The three elected panels made the press conference announcement at the Dhaka University Journalists' Association (DUJA) on Wednesday evening.

Chhatra League activist, Marjuka Raina, a dance department student, filed a case with Shahbagh police station, accusing Nurul Haque Nur, Litan Nandi, and 40 other unnamed students for humiliating hall Provost, Zennat Huda.