Justice seekers besiege VC
Dhaka University (DU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique was surrounded and kept from leaving his office for some minutes yesterday by some 50-60 protesters demanding a fair probe into the recent death of a student.
A bit of shoving and pushing ensued and the VC managed to get back inside and exit through the adjacent registrar building, said some DU employees.
Talking to The Daily Star, the protesters, of Progressive Students' Alliance and Anti-Imperialist Students Union, two alliances of 13 students' organisations, alleged that the VC walked over demonstrators sitting on his path.
Deputy Registrar Munshi Shams Uddin Ahammad, who was with the VC during the incident, refuted the claim, saying some of the protesters had held onto the VC's legs to prevent him from leaving.
The VC's phone was found switched off when attempts were made seeking comment.
President of a Bangladesh Chhatra Federation faction, MM Parvez Lelin, announced holding a demonstration at public universities on March 3 at 11:00am over the demands and for holding elections to all student unions.
Marketing fresher Hafijur Mollah died on February 2 from typhoid and pneumonia, contracted after being compelled to take up residence in a Salimullah Muslim Hall corridor, say friends and family.
Seven days before passing away, he was forced to keep standing for nearly four hours in the freezing cold at night as part of a “guestroom duty” despite informing “senior Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) brothers” of his high fever and a cold, they added.
Freshers say this “guestroom duty” is a regular session where BCL leaders brief activists on political activities, analyse their performance and sometimes even punish them.
Yesterday's protesters, joined by non-affiliated students, staged a rally at Aparajeya Bangla's base with a banner reading, “Stop students' harassment at guestrooms and stop practice of grabbing on the campus” before marching to the VC's office at noon.
Blaming him and others in authority for the “murder”, they demanded a stop to “guestroom torture” and that the halls' authorities duly perform their duties of providing accommodation to students in a democratic and transparent manner and bring an end to “BCL's control over the allocation”.
DU unit BCL President Abid Al Hasan said the allegations against BCL were baseless and that “guestroom duty” was a session where BCL leaders listen to and address problems faced by activists.