A group of teachers and students of Dhaka University are rallying behind the protesting students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in the form of a symbolic hunger strike, human chain and demonstration.
A portion of DU teachers gathered at the base of the Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture today under the banner of the ‘University Teachers Network’ and started a symbolic hunger strike at 12 pm, which went on till 3.00 pm.
“We have expressed our solidarity with the protesting SUST students and have also demanded the resignation of SUST Vice-Chancellor Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed,” said Samina Lutfa, an associate professor at DU's Department of Sociology.
Students will bring out a torch procession at 4 pm from the Dhaka University campus demanding the resignation of SUST VC.
On Sunday, a platform calling itself ‘DU beside SUST’ declared Farid Uddin as a persona non grata, meaning the VC will not be welcomed at the DU campus for the foreseeable future.
Fahim Shihab Reywaj, a spokesperson of the platform said, “The allegations of the SUST students regarding poor management of residential halls and autocracy of the teachers are relatable to us.”
“They were brutally attacked by activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League and law enforcers while pressing their reasonable demands, just like what we see at DU campus.”
“As you know, Mr Farid is from DU, but we don’t want him back. So while expressing solidarity with SUST students, we decided that he will not be accepted back at our campus following his eventual demise as SUST VC,” Reywaj noted.
The hunger strike by some of the students of SUST demanding the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation entered the sixth day on Monday with no sign of ending the stalemate in sight.
According to UNB, four more students joined their fellows in the hunger strike on Sunday afternoon, taking the total number to 27.
The unrest at the university deepened on Sunday evening as its protesting students disconnected electricity supply to the Vice-Chancellor’s residence as he refused to step down as per their demand.
On day five of the hunger strike, 15 out of 24 students on hunger strike since Wednesday 3 pm, remained admitted to different hospitals in the city.
Earlier, one of the 24 hunger-strikers had to withdraw from the strike due to his relative’s sickness.
The students went on the strike unto death demanding the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed following the police action on the protesting students at his behest on January 16.
The police charged batons, fired sound grenades and shotgun bullets to disperse the protest on Sunday afternoon (Jan 16) while students reacted by throwing brick chips at them.
At least 40 people were hurt, including teachers, students and police personnel, during the clash.
Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed was confined to a locked room by the students for three hours before that.
The provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, a dorm for females, was at the centre of the initial troubles as she reportedly misbehaved with some students on January 13. She has already resigned from her post, citing health issues.