• Thursday, Aug 06, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:33 am

Buet awaits shutdown if VC fails to meet protesters

  • Published at 11:54 am October 10th, 2019
File photo: Agitated students of Buet protesting in front of the Shaheed Minar at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology campus in Dhaka on Thursday, October 10, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

They made the announcement during their fourth day protest in front of Buet Shaheed Minar around 11:30am on Thursday

In a fresh ultimatum, protesting students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) have threatened of locking down all buildings of the university if Vice-Chancellor Prof Saiful Islam fails to meet them by Friday afternoon.

The announcement came in a demonstration in front of Buet Shaheed Minar around 11:30am on Thursday, the fourth consecutive day of protests that sparked after the brutal murder of EEE student Abrar Fahad inside a dormitory early Monday.

Also Read - The brand of shame that is Chhatra League

Issuing the warning, the protesters said they would put locks on all the administrative and academic buildings if the VC failed to meet them by 2pm Friday to clarify his stance.

Later in the evening, after a meeting with several teachers, a group of students told reporters that the VC had agreed to meet them on Friday.

Soumen Sikder, one of the protesters, said they would also brief the media at 10am on Friday before the meeting.

Buet’s Directorate of Students’ Welfare Director Prof Mizanur Rahman confirmed Dhaka Tribune that VC Saiful would meet the protesters at the university’s auditorium at 5pm.

The revised 10-point demand:

  • Highest punishment of killers
  • Permanent expulsion of identified killers from the university within 72 hours
  • Ensure justice by settling the cases in the shortest time through a speedy tribunal
  • Explanation from the VC within 2pm on Friday, about why he refrained from being present on the campus even after 30 hours into the incident
  • Explanation from DSW (Directorate of Students Welfare, Buet) chief on why he fled the crime scene after the incident
  • Expulsion of students involved with physical and mental abuse of residential students in the name of ragging by October 11
  • Compensation and bearing of all legal expenses for Abrar’s family by Buet authorities
  • Banning student politics on campus within seven days
  • The establishment of a website or form where students can express their grievances regarding incidents similar to Abrar's one, within October 11. The students should be able    to access it using their Buet BIIS account
  • Withdrawal of Sher-E-Bangla Hall Dr Md Zafar Iqbal Khan within October 11

Thursday’s ultimatum was mentioned in the protesters’ revised 10-point charter of demands, which they primarily placed on Wednesday. At the time, they had given Buet authorities seven days to meet their demands.

Abrar, who was a second-year EEE student, was beaten to death by some leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Buet unit inside the university’s Sher-e-Bangla Hall early Monday.

Until on Thursday, police arrested 16 people, including several who were accused in the murder case Abrar’s father Barkat Ullah filed at Chawkbazar police station Monday evening.

Other than Buet, students of all types of educational institutions, including public and private universities, across the country have also been demonstrating — demanding justice for Abrar and maximum punishment for the killers.

Students protesting in front of the Buet Shaheed Minar on Thusday, October 10, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribuneon Thursday, protests also spread across several districts including Magura, Jessore, Tangail, Brahmanbaria and Thakurgaon.

Our Thakurgaon Correspondent Zakir Mostafiz Milu reported that police tried to foil a rally, organized by Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal’s district unit, at Thakurgaon town’s Chowrasta on Thursday morning. But the rally was held braving police obstruction.

Teachers for VC’s resignation

Buet Teachers' Association(BTA) on Thursday urged the government to force VC Saiful Islam to resign, if he does not step down willingly.

They also issued a seven-point charter of demands, which included the removal of the VC, through a statement signed by BTA General Secretary Prof Dr Md Mustafa Ali.

Also Read - The end of impunity

"Those who killed Abrar were encouraged by the VC's negligent attitude towards tortures inflicted on students and his failure to take action to ensure students' safety in Buet," the statement read. "All these prove that the VC has lost his moral standing.”

Ban on party-affiliated student politics sought

During Thursday's protests, Buet students clarified that they demanded banning of political party-affiliated student organizations on campus, not student politics as a whole.

Addressing a rally, fourth-year student Antara Madhuri Tithi said: "We think students have the rights to protest or bring out processions over an issue as part of student politics.

“Anyone can have his or her personal choice regarding politics. But Abrar killers were representing the student wing of a specific political party.”

Hence, they used muscle power to do whatever they wanted, she said, adding: “Party-affiliated student fronts, especially Chhatra League, Chhatra Dal and Chhatra Shibir, established their reign of terror when their respective parent organization was in power.”

“Considering the history and current attitude of such student organizations, we want them to be banned, not banning the one that have no political affiliation,” Tithi concluded.

Another Buet student, requesting anonymity, said the recent history of student politics was horrifying. “This is why it is high time for political-party affiliated student bodies to be banned. But we do want student politics with no partisan links to remain.”

Meanwhile, addressing a rally at DU, Dhaka University Central Students’ Union Vice-President Nurul Haque Nur also demanded a ban on hooliganism of ruling party-backed people on campuses, but not a wholesale ban on student politics.

He also urged the authorities to establish Chhatra Sangsad (students’ union) at every educational institute, for the sake of student politics.

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