The call for punishing Buet student Abrar Fahad’s killers is getting louder as the alumni of the university and more teachers yesterday joined the student agitation sparked by the brutal murder.
The alumni and the teachers demanded the removal of Vice-Chancellor Prof Saiful Islam for his “failure to ensure security” on the campus. They also called for overhauling the university administration as soon as possible.
The agitating students and teachers demanded a ban on organisation-based student politics at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), saying politics of terror has long been rampant at the dormitories.
The student demonstrations yesterday spread like wildfire across the capital and elsewhere. Speaking there, teachers, students and their guardians too demanded that the VC be ousted immediately.
At Buet, Muhammad Zafar Iqbal Khan, the provost of Sher-e-Bangla Hall, resigned yesterday. Abrar, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering department and also a resident of the dormitory, was beaten to death by a group of Chhatra League leaders inside the hall sometime between 7:30pm Sunday and 2:30am Monday.
Law enforcers and his fellow students suspect Abrar was attacked because of one of his recent Facebook posts, which seemed critical of some recent deals with India.
Over a hundred members of Buet Alumni Association yesterday thronged the campus and expressed solidarity with the agitating students on their demands.
At a rally there, they demanded removal of the VC, recasting of the university administration, expulsion of the accused students and trial of the murder case at a speedy tribunal.
Association President Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury placed a seven-point demand, including banning politics and ragging on the campus.
“This brutal murder [of Abrar Fahad] is the outcome of the university authorities’ reluctance, mismanagement and failure to ensure security on the campus,” he said.
“Qualified, bold and neutral persons should get promotions and the Buet administration needs to be recast through the removal of the VC. These are needed to protect the image of the institution,” he added.
The agitating students of Buet continued their demonstration on the campus for the third straight day yesterday to press home their 10-point demand, including death penalty for Abrar’s killers.
Skipping classes, the protesters joined a sit-in on the university’s Shaheed Minar premises around 10:00am. About an hour and a half later, they put up barricades at Palashi Intersection and in Baksibazar areas and chanted slogans.
Their demands include expulsion of all the accused students, prevention of torture that comes in the form of ragging and ban on organisation-based politics on the campus.
The protesters gave the university authorities a two-day ultimatum to give compensations to Abrar’s family, remove the provost of Sher-e-Bangla Hall and identify and expel the students who killed Abrar.
The university authorities were given until October 15 to meet the other demands.
Around 500 students of Dhaka University brought out a procession on the campus around 1:30pm and extended support to the demands.
Earlier in the morning, a section of Buet teachers and students brought out a silent procession, demanding justice for Abrar.
Around 7:00pm, Buet students held a candlelight vigil on the campus over the same demand.
BAN ‘INDIRECT’ POLITICS
Buet Teachers’ Association also expressed solidarity with the agitating students of the university.
Speaking to reporters, the platform’s President AKM Masud said their meeting in the morning decided that they would recommend banning “indirect” politics by students and teachers on the campus.
At that time, he also placed their eight-point demand, including resignation of the Buet VC.
“Such a situation has been created as the VC did not give proper assistance in the academic activities. He is responsible for Abrar’s killing. We will not let our institution get spoiled because of an “unskilled” vice-chancellor,” said Prof Masud.
The other demands include evicting outsiders from the university halls.
Holding black flags, students, teachers and their guardians brought out a procession at Dhaka University, demanding justice for Abrar and safety of students on the campus.
They alleged provosts were failing to ensure security at the dormitories and demanded their resignation.
At a rally at the foot of Raju Memorial Sculpture, eminent lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua slammed the Buet administration over Abrar’s killing and asked, “If you failed to ensure security of students, why did you take the responsibilities as VC, pro-VC and provost?”
“They [Chhatra League activists] killed freedom of opinion through the killing of Abrar,” he said.
Jahangirnagar University’s Prof Anu Muhammad said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina “should shoulder the responsibilities of all activities of Chhatra League as she was the organisational chief of Chhatra League”.
DU Economics Professor MM Akash said students being tortured at guestroom of dormitories were leading miserable lives.
DU teachers Gitiara Nasreen, Asif Nazrul, Kaberi Gayen, Samina Luthfa, Tanjimuddin Khan and Ducsu Vice President Nurul Haque Nur also spoke at the rally.
At a sit-in on the campus, BNP-Jamaat backed “White Panel” teachers of Dhaka University demanded capital punishment for Abrar’s killers.
Left leaning Pragatashil Chhatra Jote and Pro-BNP student body Chhatra Dal brought out separate processions from Madhur canteen premises on DU campus. They also demanded capital punishment to the killers and an end to student torture at dormitories.
Acting president of Chhatra League Al Nahean Khan Joy yesterday said the student organisation would give a “fitting reply” if anyone tried to destabilise the country over Abrar murder, reports UNB.
“Police and administration are doing their work. Chhatra League has already expelled those found involved in the incident,” he told a press conference at Dhaka University.
3 MORE REMANDED
Three students of Buet -- Moniruzzaman Monir, Akash Hossain and Shamsul Arefin Rafat -- were placed on five-day remand each yesterday in connection with the murder.
Metropolitan Magistrate Tofazzal Hossain passed the order after DB Inspector Wahiduzzaman produced the trio before the court with 10-day remand prayer for each of them.
A total of 13 students of the university were arrested in connection with the murder case filed by Abrar’s father.
The accused include 10 members of Buet BCL. The other seven are on five-day remand.
Meanwhile, students and teachers of different other educational institutions, including Chattogram University and Rajshahi University, continued demonstrations yesterday for punishment to the killers.
Chhatra League men beat up Chhatra Dal activists at Jahangirnagar University and Jagannath University and barred them from holding protests.