Medical support for SUST protesters in hunger strike halted as volunteer interns leave

Student protesters in the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology are worried over a lack of medical support for those who are on a hunger strike for the removal of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed.

A team of interns from Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, who volunteered to look after the protesters, left the protest site on the restive campus in Sylhet on Monday. The interns came to campus last Thursday, a day after the hunger strike had begun.

“The health condition of most of the students participating in the hunger strike is worsening. They’re having convulsion, low oxygen, sugar and pressure in their blood besides other health complications. We’re very much worried on why the students are not getting medical support when it’s literally a life and death situation,” Ariful Islam, a spokesman for the protesters, said on Tuesday.

Md Nazmul Hasan, who led the team of interns, said some members of the team and some protesters are showing symptoms of coronavirus infection. “So we’ve halted the service. We’ll decide on the issue later.”

Professor Md Abul Kalam, deputy director of the hospital, said they did not send any team to the SUST campus formally. “Those who went there were volunteers and we don’t know why they came back. It has nothing to do with us.”

The protesters falling severely sick have been sent to the hospital where they continued the strike with medical support. Nine strikers were still at the protest site outside the VC’s official residence on the campus on Tuesday afternoon, while 19 others were shifted to the hospital.

Earlier, the protesters alleged the authorities on Monday blocked the mobile banking accounts they were using to receive financial help for the protesters from former students.

bdnews24.com could not get any statement from the mobile banking companies.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Department picked up five former students in Dhaka and handed them over to Sylhet Metropolitan Police.

Officials did not disclose the charges against them immediately, but a student said the former students were held for providing the protesters with funds.

Students had launched protests earlier this month for the removal of a provost who allegedly misbehaved with students. Though she was removed, students have continued their campaign to press for the resignation of VC Farid Uddin after police used batons, tear shells and stun grenades to break up a protest.

Police later charged 300 unnamed students in a case over the protesters’ clash with law enforcers. The students then launched the hunger strike to push for the removal of the VC and the dismissal of the case against protesters.