The students, who were stating demonstration protesting the death of one of their fellows in a road crash in Dhaka’s Pragati Sarani, have called for countrywide class boycott programme tomorrow.
Abrar Ahmed, a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) was killed after a bus ran him over at Nodda near Dhaka’s Bashundhara Residential area this morning, sparking heavy protest among the students and locals.
After withdrawing today’s demonstration and road blockade this evening, they called for boycotting classes in all the educational institutions across the country tomorrow to press for their eight-point demand, including maximum punishment of the bus driver responsible for the death, UNB reports.
"We urge the students of all educational institutions to boycott their classes on Wednesday and express their solidarity with us taking position in front of their respective institutions," Maisha Noor, a student of BUP, said while announcing the programme.
Abrar, who used to live in Bashundhara Residential Area, was crossing the Pragati Sarani Road when a bus of Shuprovat Paribahan ran him over around 7:30am, said Sub-inspector of Gulshan Police Station Sinthia Akter.
He died on the spot, the police official said adding that police seized the bus and arrested its diver Sirajul Islam.
Quoting witnesses, Muin Mostadi, a fourth-year student of the BUP, told The Daily Star that Abrar was crossing the road using the zebra crossing, but the bus hit him while it was racing with another one. The sign of blood was seen on the zebra crossing, our staff correspond reports from the spot.
Protesting the death, hundreds of protesters, mostly students of BUP and other nearby universities, took to the streets and blocked the front gate of Bashundhara residential area, halting traffic movement on Pragati Sarani Road.
A bus was torched during the protest in the area. But students present at the spot denied to torch it. Transport movements were disrupted following the demonstration, which created a huge traffic jam in the nearby areas.
Later, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam rushed to the spot and talked to the students. The mayor also gave assurance that a foot-over bridge will be set up at the accident scene in the next two to three months.
Registrar of BUP Brig Gen Md Mahboob Sarwar also went to the spot and urged the students to go back to the universities after assuring them that the university authority will follow up with the mayor's office to implement the students' demands.
But the protesting students continued their agitation, saying that they have no faith in the assurances and pledges anymore. If representatives from the prime minister's office give assurance to meet up their eight-point demand, only then they will quit their protest, some of the students said.
The students withdrew their demonstration programme around 5:50pm for today, saying that they will resume the protest tomorrow.
The accident took place at a time when the Dhaka Metropolitan Police is observing Traffic Week to bring discipline on the streets.
WHAT ARE THE STUDENTS’ DEMANDS?
Under the banner of “Safe Road Movement”, the students are demonstrating to press home their eight-point demand.
The demands include: Free the transport sector of political influence and check necessary papers of all buses each month, bring those responsible under the purview of law, all vehicles without fitness and all drivers without license should be banned from the streets, among others.