Plight of students | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 23, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 23, 2007

Plight of students

Dhaka University (DU) residential students had to leave the dormitories by 8:00 last night, before the curfew started. The news on vacating dormitories spread at around 5:30pm. Students packed their luggage, got ready and were out of the dorms. But where could they go? They could talk with none, as the cell phone networks were ordered shut. Time was ticking away, deadline running nearer fast.
To make matters worse for thousands of residential students, announcement was blaring out from an ambulance that the Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) thinks that students could stay in their dormitories. The announcement got the students all the more confused when both the president and general secretary of Duta denied any such declaration.
On the other hand, Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof AFM Yusuf Haider and others were found unsure about the government directive to vacate the dormitories although the TV channels broadcast the instruction.
The government also did not convey its directive to the university authorities. Out of confusion, the acting VC directed all the provosts to tell the residents that if they wish, they can leave dorms. He was heard saying, “I don't know what to do now.”
Upon confirmation of the directive, he requested in vain for an extension to the vacating time for residents of dormitories.
By 6:00pm, thousands of students with luggage in their hands were seen pouring out on the roads, not knowing exactly where to go.
A visually impaired DU student, Swapan Choukidar, was going on foot to his local guardian's house at Hajaribagh. Panicked Swapan did not know where he would end up.
"What do you think? Is there any possibility to get a ticket for Shariatpur (his village home)? Launches ply under curfew, no? " Swapan asked his friends.
The female students of the DU were the worst affected. Near the BDR gate no 3, female students of the Bangladesh-Kuwait Friendship Hall and Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall were pleading with the rickshaw pullers and van drivers for a lift.
Terming the government decision inhuman and insensitive, Duta General Secretary Professor Anwar Hossain said, "Why should the students leave their halls...where would they go at such a short notice?"

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