Dhaka University students and teachers have observed “Black Day” - marking the crackdown on students and teachers by the then military-backed caretaker government on August 23, 2007.
The observers wore black badges Wednesday and held different programmes including discussion and rally on the campus demanding the punishment of the culprits.
A protest rally was held marking the day in front of Aparajeyo Bangla.
Professor Muhammad Samad of Social Welfare and Research Institute presided over the rally while it was addressed, among others, by National University VC Harun-or-Rashid, Economics department Professor MM Akash, Dhaka University Teachers’ Association President Maksud Kamal, former Jahangirnagar University VC Anwar Hossain.
While addressing the rally, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon urged the concerned authorities to announce the schedule for Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) election immediately to fulfil demand of August movement.
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He also said that he was in charge of parliamentary investigation committee on education where students and teachers participated spontaneously but no one from Army took part in the investigation process.
Menon further said that the committee recommended holding DUCSU poll immediately, but that it was not held in last several years.
Meanwhile, a discussion was also held at the Teachers and Student Center around 11:30am. Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, vice-chancellor of the university, addressed the event as chief guest.
On August 20, 2007, students of the university were engaged in a heated argument with some members of the army following a football match, which escalated to the students being physically assaulted. This triggered a widespread agitation by both teachers and students.
On the night of August 23, 2007, the military arrested four teachers and eight students of the university and allegedly tortured them.
The incident sparked clashes between police and students, spreading from Dhaka University to all other educational institutions in the country. One person was killed in Rajshahi and several hundred injured during the clashes.
A total of 59 cases were filed against 84,000 unnamed students on charges of their involvement in the violence. Several teachers of Dhaka and Rajshahi University were also arrested and placed on remand on charges of instigating the violence.
After spending five months in prison, four Dhaka University teachers were released after being granted presidential clemency on January 22, 2008. Eight DU students were also released over several phases. The then government also withdrew a number of cases against the teachers and students.
From then, the university observes August 23 as Black Day every year.