The free medical support for the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) students on hunger strike and their mobile phone services have been allegedly suspended.
The students embarked on fast-unto-death on the university campus on January 19, demanding the resignation of SUST vice-chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed over the police crackdown on the varsity students.
“A medical team from Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College that had been voluntarily providing services to those on hunger strike from January 19, withdrew their services on Monday night,” said the protesting students at a press meet on Tuesday morning, reports UNB.
Most of the 27 students on hunger strike are suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels and convulsions, and the sudden withdrawal of the medical support could pose serious risks to their health, they said, quoting a senior hospital doctor.
However, a doctor arrived at the protest venue later in the morning to give the students medical support.
In a related development, the students claimed that their mobile phone numbers have been deactivated since Monday noon.
“When we contacted the customer care centres of our mobile operators, we were told to get in touch with the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC),” said Ariful Islam, one of the protesting students.
Meanwhile, the protesting students restored the electricity connection to the V-C's official residence.
The students, however, denied the charges of disconnecting gas and water services to his residence and not allowing policemen, journalists and other people carrying food for the VC inside.
The students vowed to continue with their hunger strike till the VC "puts in his papers".
On Monday evening, Proctor Alamgir Kabir, an associate professor, first tried to persuade the protesting students to end their fast-unto-VC’s resignation protest. The student, however, refused to break the fast and instead locked into an argument with the team for not supporting their protest.
Later the team tried to get into the VC’s residence with food, beverages and medicines but it failed to go through the human chain surrounding the place.
The hunger strike was launched on January 19 by 24 students and later one of them had to leave due to family obligations. On January 22, three more students joined their fellows in the hunger strike.
The strike was launched after police swooped on the protesting students, charging batons and firing sound grenades and shotgun bullets.
The alleged attack was carried out to free the VC from confinement in the university’s IICT building, and it had left 40 people hurt, including teachers, students and cops.
Zafrin Ahmed, a provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, a dorm for females, was at the centre of the initial unrest as she allegedly misbehaved with some students on January 13 when they met her with some complaints.
She has later resigned from her post, citing health issues.
Provost Zafrin Ahmed’s removal was one of the initial demands of the students protesting on the campus. But it has now spread to the general students as well.