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Shahjalal University protesters speak with education minister, stalemate persists

  • SUST Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2022-01-23 11:45:25 BdST

Education Minister Dipu Moni has urged protesting students at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology to end their hunger strike via video conference.

The protesters, however, refused to budge from their demand for the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed.

They are likely to have another meeting on Sunday over the issue, they said.

A group of teachers from the university in Sylhet met Dipu Moni at her home in Dhaka on Saturday. Later, the minister spoke to the student representatives via video conference from 1 am to 2:20 am on Sunday.

Sylhet Awami League Organising Secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel and other leaders represented the education minister at the meeting in Sylhet. Later Nadel briefed the media.

“The education minister has listened to the student protesters. She assured them their demand would be considered.”

As of now, 23 protesters have fallen ill during the hunger strike, and the toll may rise if they continue the strike, Nadel said.

”She [the education minister] requested the students to end the hunger strike and assured them there will be no legal or academic trouble over the issue. She is ready for further talks.”

The protesters were asked to send their demands in writing and they responded that they would get back to the authorities after discussing the matter among themselves, Nadel said.

When asked, the Awami League leader said a decision regarding the removal of the vice chancellor has yet to be taken.

“The minister has assured us on many issues, but no decision was taken on our key demand, the removal of the VC,” said a student representative.

The protestors said they were ready to sit for talks, but would not end the hunger strike until their demand was met.

Students had begun protests to demand the resignation of Zafrin Ahmed Liza, provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, after she had allegedly ‘misbehaved’ with students.

Though she was eventually 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.

Students continue their hunger strike for the third day on Friday, Jan 21, 2022, demanding the resignation of Farid Uddin Ahmed, vice chancellor of the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology.

Students continued their protests for the 11th day and the hunger strike entered its fifth on Sunday to press for the VC’s resignation.

Police charged 300 unnamed students in a case on Wednesday over the protesters’ clash with law enforcers.

On Wednesday, 24 students launched a hunger strike to push for the removal of the VC and the dismissal of the case against protesters. More than half of them have been hospitalised after falling sick, but they have continued with the strike.