POST TIME: 21 September, 2019 10:31:13 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 September, 2019 01:38:44 AM
Gopalganj Science and Tech University
Students’ protest continues demanding VC resignation
Education ministry forms investigation committee

Students’ protest continues 
demanding  VC resignation

Defying order to vacate halls by the varsity administration, students of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj yesterday held protests and demonstrations on the campus demanding resignation of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khondoker Md Nasiruddin. The demos were later followed by clashes, which left some 20 students injured. Star mail photo

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) in Gopalganj is at the epicentre of controversies and protests, with students alleging that the university authorities are autocratic, corrupt and student-unfriendly. The agitating students came under attack yesterday by alleged supporters of the vice-chancellor (VC) as they were on their way to the university from Gopalganj town. At least 20 students were injured.

In the wake of ongoing demonstrations on the campus, where the students have been demanding the resignation of the VC, Prof. Dr Khondoker Md Nasiruddin, the administration decided to close down the university on the day by extending its holiday for 12 days on the occasion of Durga Puja.

Meanwhile, the deputy minister of education, Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, has directed the education ministry to form an inquiry committee to investigate the ongoing agitation demanding the resignation of the VC. He

issued the order to senior secretary of the secondary and higher education department, Sohrab Hossain, yesterday. Mohammad Abul Khair, PRO of the education ministry, confirmed this.

In another development, the Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) Vice president (VP) Nurul Haque Nur yesterday demanded the resignation of vice-chancellor of the BSTU after students at the university came under attack.

He made this demand from a protest rally held at the base of the Raju memorial, on the DU campus.

Students continue protests

The students said, no matter what, they would continue their demonstrations and hunger-strike to press for a 16-point charter of demands in front of the university administration building. The demands include ensuring a congenial academic atmosphere on campus, ensuring transparent admission procedures and guaranteeing freedom of expression.

A group of teachers belonging to the Sachetan Shikkhak Samaj extended their support to the students and their demands.

Referring to the ongoing student protests, VC Nasiruddin said: “A group of anti-government students is conspiring to create an untoward situation.”

Students claimed that earlier on Saturday morning, they were suddenly attacked in the Gobra area, adjacent to the university. A group of 40 to 50 people, who they claimed were the VC’s man, attacked them with rods, hockey sticks and sticks. Some 20 people were injured in the attack.

Following this incident, the university’s assistant proctor Humayun Kabir tendered his resignation. When Humayun Kabir was asked about his resignation, he said, “Locals have attacked my children, but I could not do anything. I have resigned from a moral sense because I failed to fulfil my duty.”

Authorities declare shutdown

The authorities have closed down the university, extending the holidays for 12 days on the occasion of Durga Puja. A letter signed by BSMRSTU registrar Prof. Dr Md Nuruddin Ahmed said the authorities announced the decision to shut down the university from Sunday, to "ensure a congenial academic atmosphere and to avert any untoward incident”.

Citing security reasons, the university authorities also asked its students to vacate the halls of residence by 10am yesterday, it said. The letter further requested the district administration to impose Section 144 to ensure peace and maintain discipline on the campus. It also requested the superintendent of police (SP) to deploy law enforcers on the campus on same reason.

However, residential students alleged that utility connections, including water and power supplies, were disconnected from Saturday morning on the instructions of the university authorities. They strongly criticised the authorities' decision.

They also alleged that their meals were not provided on Friday night.

The registrar said the utility connections would remain snapped since the students had been asked to leave their dormitories by 10am.

What sparked the protests?

The students started protesting when the BSMRSTU authorities issued an order to suspend second-year law student Fatema-tuz-Zinia earlier this month. The university, however, lifted the suspension order on Wednesday night.

University authorities claimed her posts tarnished the university’s image, but Zinia said she was suspended because of her reports as a journalist on irregularities and corruption at BSMRSTU.