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Shahjalal University VC apologises to protesting students for attack by police

  • Shahjalal University Correspondent,
    Published: 2022-02-12 17:18:04 BdST


Farid Uddin Ahmed, the vice chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, or SUST, has expressed his regret for the police attack on protesting students with bullets and batons, describing it as ‘uncalled for’.

The statement from the vice chancellor comes on Saturday, a day after the education minister called on him to apologise.

“This is the vice chancellor’s statement,” Mohd Ishfaqul Hussain, the SUST registrar said.

Asked why a university letterhead had not been used for the statement, he said:

“The power was out in Sylhet this morning. This caused a bit of a delay in issuing the official statement. But the statement that was sent to the media was that of the vice chancellor.”

Students had begun protests in the second week of January 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 Farid after police used batons, tear shells and stun grenades to break up a protest.

The students launched a hunger strike to push for the removal of the VC and the dismissal of the case. The protesters ended the hunger strike after seven days on Jan 26, but continued other forms of protests.

Dipu Moni had talked to the students via video call during the hunger strike. She travelled to Sylhet to discuss their demands in-person on Friday.

Afterwards, the education minister met Farid Uddin and other teachers and officials at his office.

Registrar Anwarul Islam said Dipu Moni asked Farid Uddin to restore normalcy to the campus before Feb 14, the university’s founding anniversary.

“No matter whether the incident occurred on your [Farid Uddin’s] orders or not, the responsibility falls upon you because you are the head of the institution. If I were you, I would apologise. You must apologise to everyone,” Anwarul quoted the minister as telling the VC during the meeting with teachers.

“I would like to extend my genuine sympathy and compassion to the teachers, students, employees and officials who were injured in these uncalled-for incidents at our beloved university,” the vice chancellor said in his statement on Saturday.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the faculty, students, officials and staff of the university who are working hard to overcome the standstill caused by this incident."

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all persons at all levels of government, including the education minister, the deputy education minister, local and central Awami League leaders, members of civil society in Sylhet and law enforcement in order to restore our university’s regular operations.”

"I would also like to thank the media personnel who have played a responsible role in solving the problems of the university."

“I urge every member of our university family to play their part in bringing back the beautiful atmosphere and regular operation of our university,” he said.

The vice chancellor also reiterated his belief that with everyone working together, the university would achieve a high international standard.