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Calm settles on Shahjalal University campus after protesters end hunger strike

  • SUST Correspondent,
    Published: 2022-01-26 21:53:19 BdST

A relative quiet has descended on the politically-charged Shahjalal University of Science and Technology campus after student protesters pressing for the resignation of Vice Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed ended their hunger strike.

Former SUST teachers Mohammed Zafar Iqbal and his wife Yasmeen Haque gave the protesters water to drink on Wednesday morning, seven days after they launched the strike. Students began to leave the campus after 1pm and no campaign was spotted in the afternoon.

“No one went to bed last night. The students are all tired and have left the campus temporarily to get some rest. The movement will continue although the hunger strike has ended,” said Sabur Khan, a protester. He added fresh programmes would be announced later.

Out of the 28 hunger strikers, four returned home and 24 went to Jalalabad Ragib-Rabeya Medical College Hospital for check-up. The doctors admitted six of them, according to the protesters.

Prof Zafar Iqbal and Prof Yasmeen went to the campus at 4am and talked to the protesters for around two hours.

“I see the hunger strike and the movement as separate matters. Alright? They [students] don’t need to go on a strike to achieve their goals,” said Iqbal.

“It makes no sense for students to give up their lives for the person they are revolting against. If they wish to continue protests, they can do so.”

Students had begun protests earlier this month to demand the resignation of Zafrin Ahmed Liza, provost of Shahjalal University’s Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, for misbehaving with students.

Though the provost was eventually removed, students have continued their campaign to force Farid Uddin out after police had used batons, tear shells and stun grenades to break up a protest, injuring at least 50 people in the process.

Police charged 200-300 unnamed students in a case last week over the protesters’ clash with law enforcers. Later, the students launched the hunger strike to push for the removal of the VC and the dismissal of the case against protesters.