10-day standstill prevails as students continue protests
Administrative and academic activities at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) in Gopalganj have been halted since February 9, as students of history department are demonstrating, demanding University Grants Commission (UGC) approve their department.
The protests escalated several days ago after UGC asked BSMRSTU authorities to shut the department down and complete academic activities of the existing batches.
Protesting the move, history students went on a sit-in programme in front of the administrative building, padlocking its gate on February 6. On February 9, they also padlocked gates of the academic building, leading to a complete halt of academic activities.
Mentionable, then BSMRSTU vice-chancellor Prof Khondoker Nasiruddin introduced the history department in 2017 under the Institute of Bangabandhu, Liberation War and Bangladesh Studies, with "verbal approval" of UGC. Some 300 students enrolled at the department each year.
After students learned that their department is not approved, they started demonstrating.
Meanwhile, general students expressed concerns that halting of academic activities will result in huge session jams. They urged authorities to take measures to resume classes and examinations.
University students also formed a human chain on February 9, demanding resumption of classes and exams, saying the movement was disrupting their academic life.
Niaz Mahmud, a final-year student of computer science and engineering department, said, "We know their demand is logical, but they have to think about the academic lives of rest of the students. We are greatly suffering for their movement."
Fahim Sikder, a former student of the university, said he got scholarship to go aboard and needs to collect his transcript ungently. But he could not collect it as administrative activities are halted.
Many students echoed Niaz and Fahim, criticising university authorities for not taking proper steps to resolve the crisis.
UGC FORMS PROBE BODY
Taking the issue to cognisance, UGC yesterday formed a seven-member probe body, led by its member Prof Dil Afroz Begum, to resolve the matter.
BSMRSTU Vice Chancellor Prof Md Shahjahan said they have already held a meeting with the probe body yesterday in this regard.
University authorities will take measures as per recommendations of the probe body, he said, hoping that the issue will be resolved soon.
Both Prof Dil Afroz and UGC Chairperson Prof Kazi Shahidullah could not be contacted over phone despite repeated attempts.