Students of Jagannath University today lie down on the road in front of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid's vehicle to protest the hall occupation by illegal outsiders. Photo: Palash Khan
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid today pledged to take steps in recovering 11 dormitories of Jagannath University (JnU) from illegal occupation while the students, for their demand, blocked roads for over three hours which created long tailbacks in Old Dhaka.
During the demonstration that started around 11:30am, the students burnt tyres at different points on road and halted vehicle movements on Sadarghat-Gulistan and Babubazar-Jatrabari routes.
Speaking to the agitating students at Roy Shaheb Bazar intersection around 1:00pm, Nahid said he spoke to the Prime Minister on the issue. He also urged the present “occupiers” to release the dormitories from their custody.
“Otherwise steps in line with the law will be taken against them soon,” said the minister, while students demanded him to take steps within next couple of days.
Nahid attended an event at nearby Kobi Nazrul College but the agitating students blocked his vehicle at Roy Shaheb Bazar intersection when he was leaving from the college.
The students also blocked former Home Minister Sahara Khatun’s vehicle at the same area around 12:00pm on her way to attend an event at Dhaka District and Sessions Judge's Court.
Under the banner of “Jagannath Biswabidyalay-er Bedakhal Hawa Hall Uddhar Sangram Parishad”, some thousand students took the street and chanted slogans against illegal occupation.
Convener of the parishad and President of JnU unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League Shariful Islam said although it was not in their schedule they blocked the roads after came to know about the ministers’ arrival in the area.
“We hope immediate steps will be taken in recovering the halls,” he said.
Earlier at around 11:00am, the students started collecting mass signature inside the campus to enforce their demand.
The students have been staging demonstrations since February 12, demanding "recovery" of their 11 dormitories, including Tibet Hall, at different parts in Old Dhaka from illegal occupation.
Lawmaker and Awami League leader Haji Mohammad Selim allegedly occupied part of the hall and built Gulshan Ara City shopping complex in Wiseghat.
At least 50 people, including teachers and students, were injured as police charged truncheons and fired rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration of the students in Old Dhaka on Sunday.