Jagannath shut till Oct 6
Jagannath University authorities yesterday closed the institution until October 6 following four consecutive days of student agitation. The university will be open again on October 9 after the weekend.
Yesterday, students burnt effigies of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, for what they claimed was his inaction to meet their demands, and Vice-Chancellor Prof Mezbahuddin.
They demanded that the government continue to fund the university beyond the year 2012, which the Jagannath University Act does not allow. They also want their dormitories made free of illegal occupiers, more buses for student transport and relocation of the Bangladesh Bank branch office which is inside their campus.
The effigies were burnt in front of the vice-chancellor's office around 1:00pm while demonstrators, under the banner of “General Students”, threw brickbats at law enforcers deployed outside the campus.
Before closing the university, Prof Mezbahuddin had separate meetings with heads of different departments of the university and leaders of students' organisations yesterday afternoon.
He met leaders of the student organisations first. Having made no headway on the negotiation table, he then met the chairmen of 28 departments when the decision to close the university was made. There will be no classes or exams from today but offices will remain open.
In the last four days, only exams were held in the university.
Prof Mezbahuddin said, “As the situation is not under control, we decided to close the university in advance.” The institution was supposed to be closed for Durga Puja holidays on October 4.
He said a vested quarter has been trying to mislead the students to destabilise the institution and take advantage of the situation. All teachers and employees of the university have the same demands as the students do, he added.
Golam Mawla Bhuiyan, convener of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, JNU unit, told The Daily Star, “We have no right to stop a movement launched by general students. Rather, we should support them to realise the demands for the university's sake as well as its students.”
During the four-day movement, students clashed with law enforcers and vandalised around 50 vehicles in the capital. Police filed two cases with Kotwali and Shahbagh police stations accusing around 900 students, including 15 JNU correspondents of different media houses and top leaders of JNU unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Islami Chhatra Shibir, of vandalism on September 25.