The protest began on March 26 when the VC termed the students as razakars
Barisal University (BU) students and teachers are continuing their movement for the third week demanding the removal of Vice Chancellor Prof SM Imamul Huq for his derogatory remark during Independence Day celebrations last month.
The students staged a sit-in strike in front of the BU academic building from 10am to 1pm on Wednesday and declared that they would continue their protest until the VC is removed.
On April 6, student representatives and district and divisional officials, along with the state minister for water resources and Barisal City Corporation mayor, held a meeting where their demand was verbally agreed to.
The officials then decided to send a recommendation to the authorities for the VC’s removal. It was also decided to reopen the dormitories and resume official and academic activities of the university.
However, no written assurance about the VC’s removal has been issued yet. The ongoing movement is disrupting official and academic activities on the campus, university sources said.
Lokman Hossain, a student leader, said: “Our movement will continue and as the VC, Prof SM Imamul Huq, acting registrar Dr Hasinur Rahman and public relation officer (PRO) Faisal Rumi were declared as ‘persona non grata’ on the campus, they should be removed permanently.”
Another student, Shafikul Islam, claimed: “The acting registrar and PRO were appointed violating rules and regulations of the university.”
On other hand, Abu Zafar Mia, secretary of BU Teachers Association (BUTA), said they were continuing their strike for the fourth day and would continue to do so until their demands are met.
BU faculty members also held a protest in front of the academic building from 11am to 1pm to press home their eight-point demand.
BUTA has expressed solidarity with the protesting students for their ongoing movement.
“BUTA also appealed to the chancellor, prime minister and education minister for taking steps to end the deadlock at BU, so as to avoid session jams,” Zafar added.
On March 26, students started demonstrating claiming that the VC had arranged an Independence Day program on the campus without inviting them. During the event, the VC reportedly labelled them as children of razakars (Pakistani collaborators).
Later, the VC, declared the university dorms closed until further notice, and asked the students to vacate the campus by the afternoon of March 28. He then left Barisal to attend a syndicate meeting of BU at its Dhaka office.
On March 29, Prof Imamul Huq expressed regrets about his comment. The VC, who has only two months’ tenure left, applied for 14 days’ leave on April 11. This was rejected by the students, who vowed to continue their agitation to press home their demand.