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Dhaka city polls: Protesting DU students leave Shahbagh with 18hr ultimatum to EC

  • Published at 05:40 pm January 14th, 2020
Shahabagh protest
Protesters barricade Dhaka's Shahbag intersection demanding rescheduling date for Dhaka city polls on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka city corporations set to be held on January 30

Protesting students of Dhaka University (DU) have withdrawn the blockade at Shahbagh intersection around 6.30pm after giving ultimatum of 18 hours to Election Commission.

Confirming the matter, spokesperson for the protesting students Utpal Biswas told Dhaka Tribune that if their demand would not met by the given time-frame, they would wage tougher movement including march towards Election Commission office at Agargaon.

Utpal is the vice president (VP) of Jagannath hall union also the General Secretary of Chhatra League’s Jagannath hall unit.

Most of the protesters were the fellow activists and leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League DU unit.

Earlier, hundreds of students from DU blocked the Shahbagh intersection, demanding rescheduling poll dates of both Dhaka city corporations set to be held on January 30. 

The protest began around 5pm Tuesday, just three hours after the High Court has turned down a writ petition seeking its directive to defer the elections to the two Dhaka city corporations as it coincides with the Saraswati Puja of the Hindu community.

“The general students from Dhaka university blockade Shahbagh intersection demanding rescheduling of the upcoming both city polls,”  Shahbagh police station Officer-in-Charge Abul Hasan told Dhaka Tribune while confirming the matter.

Protesters barricade Dhaka's Shahbag intersection demanding rescheduling date for Dhaka city polls on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneThe blockade caused severe traffic gridlock to the entire paths towards New Elephant Road, Farmgate intersection, Gulistan area and DU entryway.

On January 6, Advocate Ashoke Kumar Ghosh, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed the writ seeking its directive to defer the polls as Saraswati Puja, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Hindu community, will be celebrated across Bangladesh on the day. 

On December 22 last year, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda announced the election schedule for the polls to DNCC and DSCC fixing January 30 as the voting date.

Meanwhile, Saraswati Puja, will be celebrated across Bangladesh on the same day as per the decision of a meeting of the Puja Committee at Dhakeshwari Temple on January 3.