They made the demands On Wednesday, third consecutive day of protests, over Sunday night’s brutal murder of Abrar, a second-year EEE student, inside a dormitory
Students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) have given the university authorities a seven-day ultimatum to meet their 10-point charter of demands, including a ban on all types of student politics on campus and justice for slain student Abrar Fahad.
They made the demands On Wednesday, third consecutive day of protests, over Sunday night’s brutal murder of Abrar, a second-year EEE student, inside a dormitory.
A number of leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Buet unit have been accused of beating him to death for his alleged involvement with Islami Chhatra Shibir, an unsubstantiated claimed which is yet to be proved.
The protesters on Tuesday had made eight demands which Buet authorities had agreed to meet. But the students revised and raised the charter of demands 10 points on Wednesday morning, after protests resumed through a blockade in front of Buet Shaheed Minar around 10am.
Among the new demands was the withdrawal of Sher-E-Bangla Hall provost Md Zafar Iqbal Khan by October 11, which in no time prompted him to step down on Wednesday.
The agitating students also said they would boycott the upcoming admission test scheduled for October 14 and continue the protest until the charge sheet in the case filed over Abrar’s murder is submitted.
They also said no academic activities will take place until all of their demands are met.
However, Buet Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Saiful Islam has rejected the students’ demand for his resignation.
In the morning, former and current students of the Electrical and Electronic Department (EEE) brought out a silent procession on campus in protest against the murder.
After staying at Buet Shaheed Minar throughout the day, Buet students lit candles and observed one minute of silence in the evening, before calling off the protest for the day.
The protest was set to resume at the same spot from 10am today.
Meanwhile, taking cue from the past two days, protests spread on Wednesday in more districts, including Gopalganj, Thakurgaon, Jamalpur, Chittagong, Barisal, Chapainawabganj, Comilla, Naogaon, Netrokona, Panchagarh, Rangpur and Bogra, across the country — demanding justice for Abrar and maximum punishment for his killers.
No more teacher politics at Buet
In another development, Buet Teachers’ Association (BTA) banned teacher politics at the university, a decision that was made at BTA’s emergency meeting held at 11am on Wednesday.
Addressing the demonstrating students around 3:15pm, BTA President Dr AKM Masud made the announcement, saying: “We have come to a decision to ban teacher politics at the university.
“Student politics will also be banned soon.”
The emergency meeting, attended by 300 Buet teachers, also agreed on eight demands that they would press the authorities to meet, including lifetime expulsion of those involved in the murder within 72 hours, proper investigation into all incidents of student abuse, resignation of the VC and urging the government to sack him in case he refuses.
Meanwhile, protesting against Abrar’s murder, Buet Alumni Association on Wednesday issued a statement with a seven-point charter of demands, including resignation of the VC.
The other demands, stated in the statement signed by the association’s President Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, include: ensuring justice by finishing the murder case’s trial in the shortest possible time, expelling the accused from Buet, and banning politics of students, teachers and employees.
Chhatra League against student politics ban
Meanwhile, addressing the media at Madhur Canteen in Dhaka University around 11am On Wednesday, Chhatra League’s central committee Acting General Secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee said they were against the demand of banning student politics on educational institutions.
Condemning Abrar’s murder and addressing the alleged involvement of the now-expelled Chhatra League’s Buet unit leaders, Lekhak said: “Chhatra League gave no instructions to beat up any student.
“We are not going to take responsibility of anyone’s personal conflict,” he said, hinting that Abrar’s murder had spiralled out of a personal issue.
He also lashed out at the authorities of Buet’s Sher-E-Bangla hall, where Abrar was beaten for around five hours from 8:30pm Sunday before he died, for failing protect the student.
Chhatra League’s Acting President Al-Nahean Khan Joy said: “If there is anyone left to be arrested besides the 19 already held, they should also be identified and arrested immediately.”
The ruling party student wing on Monday had expelled 11 of its members for their alleged involvement in the murder.
Three more remanded
A Dhaka court on Wednesday granted police five day to question three more accused in the Abrar murder case.
Detective Branch (DB) of police’s Inspector Muhammad Wahidud Zaman produced the three before the court and sought 10 days to interrogate them. However, after hearing his remand plea, Metropolitan Magistrate Md Tofazzal Hossain granted five days.
The three accused are Md Moniruzzaman Monir, Shamsul Arefin Rafat, and Md Akash.
Monir is the literature secretary of Chhatra League’s Buet unit.
The court has also ordered police to submit a report on the investigation’s progress on November 13.
On Tuesday, 10 other accused in the case were also remanded for five days.
Meanwhile, BNP on Wednesday expelled lawyer Morsheda Khatun Shilpi from the party and pro-BNP Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum for representing the accused in the murder case.
On Wednesday, DB also brought in Abrar’s friend Iqbal Shakhawat Ovi, a second year EEE student, for questioning.
According to DB sources, Ovi was neither among the 19 accused nor a suspect in the case, which was filed by Abrar's father Barkat Ullah at Chawkbazar police station Monday evening.
Dhaka Tribune’s Saidun Nabi and Md Sanaul Islam Tipu contributed to this report.