Jahangirnagar University students have refused to bow down to the university authorities and announced to continue their movement to ensure road safety.
A mechanism to kill people has been put in place on the highways in the name of road accidents because the authorities concerned are negligent and apathetic about taking the proper steps, they said at a press conference at Madhur Canteen of Dhaka University on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the Jahangirnagar University authorities have decided to reopen its dormitories from June 8.
The press conference coincided with the deadline set by the JU Shikkhak-Shikkharthi Oikya Manch for withdrawing the case filed by the administration against its students in connection with the June 27 protest that took place following the death of their two fellow students.
Nazmul Hasan Rana, 24, a student of marketing department, and Arafat, 24, of microbiology, were killed in a road accident on Dhaka-Aricha highway near Mir Mosharraf Hossain Hall Gate of the university around 5am on May 26.
Hundreds of students took to the streets the next day. They blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway around 11am which eventually escalated to clashes with police, attacks by Chhatra League men and a mass arrest of students from the campus.
At least 12 students were injured as police fired rubber bullets, lobbed teargas canisters and charged batons on the protesters on Dhaka-Aricha highway, refusing to give the students time to withdraw blockade as per a meeting with the VC.
Later, police arrested 42 students from in front of the vice-chancellors residence at midnight on June 27. The students were observing a sit-in there to press home their demands, but the administration took the move as an offense and filed a case against some 50 students for vandalism.
The JU authorities at an emergency meeting the same day announced to shut down all the academic activities for an indefinite period and asked the students to leave dormitories.
The arrestees secured bail the next day, and some of them described abusive treatment by the police in custody.
Another protester Nazmul Hossain, who fell sick during the movement, was kept handcuffed to his bed while being treated at Savar Enam Medical College Hospital, drawing harsh criticisms. Later a High Court bench summoned the OC of Ashulia police to the court to explain the matter.
[caption id="attachment_65884" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Jahangirnagar University resident students are leaving campus as the authorities asked them to vacate halls
/ Rajib Dhar[/caption]
Reading out their statement at the press conference, Oliur Rahman Sun, on behalf of the students facing case, said they had expected the university administration would stand beside the students who were protesting against the "systematic killings on roads."
"But the JU administration is trying to intimidate the protesters by blaming them for the vandalism which had nothing to do with them," he said.
The movement of the JU students was to ensure road safety, not only for the campus community but also for other citizens who use the Dhaka-Aricha highway, Oliur added.
Classes to resume July 7
The decision to resume academic activities came from an emergency syndicate meeting held at the Administrative Building on Saturday with the university's Vice-Chancellor Farzana Islam in the chair.
Classes, examinations and other academic activities will resume on July 7.
The Syndicate meeting did not come out with any assurance of withdrawing the case filed against the protesters.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, the VC said: “We will consult legal experts about the next procedure of the case.”
The Shikkhak-Shikkharthi Oikya Moncho, a platform of JU students and teachers, also held a press conference at the Teachers' Lounge of the New Arts Building Saturday afternoon.
The platform has been pressing home a number of demands, including immediate withdrawal of the case, formation of a neutral probe body over the vandalism and quick measures to ensure road safety for the JU community.
They earlier issued a deadline to the JU authorities for withdrawing the case by Saturday.
Speaking at the meeting, the platform's spokesperson Prof Nasim Akhter Hossain said: “The situation that has been prevailing in Jahangirnagar University since May 26 is not at all acceptable.
"We could not imagine that the teacher-student relations in a public university would deteriorate to such extent... We cannot let the case hanging over the students' heads. We will continue to protest until the case is withdrawn.”
Members of the platform are set to form a human chain on the Shaheed Minar premises around 11am on Sunday.