Polytechnic students keep on agitating | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 11, 2009

Polytechnic students keep on agitating

Over 280 hurt in clashes across country


Student protesters at Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute torch furniture on the street during their clash with police yesterday. Polytechnic students across the country demonstrated yesterday to protest a change in their examination rules.Photo: STAR

Over 280 people, mostly students, were injured yesterday in a series of clashes between police and students of polytechnic institutes in different districts who were demonstrating against new examination rules.
Agitating students of Rajshahi, Comilla, Rangpur, Patuakhali, Dinajpur and Gopalganj polytechnic institutes went on the rampage vandalising offices, classrooms, laboratories, furniture, vehicles and roadside shops to press their demand for cancellation of the new rules.
The students claim that the new rules, introduced by the Technical Education Board, say no student of polytechnic institutes is entitled to appear at 'referred examinations' more than once.
The students also put up barricades on different highways disrupting vehicular movement for hours.
At Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute (RPI), around 100 people, including students, cops and journalists were hurt in clashes, reports our staff correspondent in Rajshahi.
Trouble started as police swung into action on demonstrating students. They clashed with police on the campus and on the airport road beside the institute located at Shalbagan in the city.
Vehicular movement on the road remained suspended for about two hours since 9:30am.
The students kept their principal confined at the administrative building for some time and damaged his office. They also vandalised the offices of the controller of examinations, treasurer, caretaker and security officer, doors of two teachers' rooms and of physics and chemistry laboratories, and torched some furniture at the main gate of the campus.
At around 11:30am, Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton rushed to spot, asked police to withdraw from the campus and pacified the demonstrators.
The students alleged that police entered Shah Neyamatullah and Shaheed Monayem hostels by breaking the doors and beat up students indiscriminately.
They said that earlier in the morning they had earlier met the principal over their demand but he expressed his inability to do anything in this regard. Then they started demonstrating. But police suddenly began clubbing them, which triggered clashes, they added.
Enraged students threw brickbats at police, leaving 30 cops injured, said witnesses. And police lobbed 22 tear shells to bring the situation under control.
The deputy commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) however told reporters that, "Police attempts to prevent students from coming out of the campus and staging demonstrations of on streets sparked the clashes."
A report from a correspondent in Comilla said at least 65 students and 15 cops were injured in a clash between the Comilla Polytechnic Institute students and police.
Witnesses said the clash erupted at about 10:30am when the law enforces attacked agitating students who went on the rampage.
The students also put up barricade on Dhaka-Chittagong highway disrupting vehicular movement for about three hours.
Police brought the situation under control.
The institute authorities later held a meeting with the students to resolve the crisis.
Our Rangpur correspondent reports: At least 50 students of Rangpur Polytechnic Institute were injured in a clashes with police on the campus.
Police lobbed 10 tear gas shells and charged batons on the demonstrators, who ransacked several rooms at the institute and damaged different instruments, witnesses said.
The students laid siege at Jahaj Company point, first traffic point and court point for around two hours noon, causing sufferings to commuters.
Witnesses said the clash ensued after police chased about 300 students as they were damaging furniture and instruments in classrooms and laboratories.
The students later returned with sticks and brickbats fought with police for about four hours.
Our correspondent in Patuakhali reports: Over 50 people including 10 cops were injured in clashes between police and students of Patuakhali Polytechnic Institute.
Students said they became agitated as police beat up one of their teachers.
They put up barricade on Patuakhali-Kuakata road and ransacked vehicles and roadside shops.
Students of Dinajpur Polytechnic Institute damaged a number of rooms at the institute, hostels and residence of the principal, and vehicles, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.
They will submit a five-point memorandum to the principal today as part of their agitation to press home their demand.
Moreover, demonstrating students of Gopalganj Polytechnic Institute yesterday vandalised a number of rooms at the institute and barricaded Dhaka-Khulna highway at Chandradigholia for an hour. reports our correspondent in Goplaganj.
They kept their teachers and staff confined at the institute for some time.
The students also called a strike at the institute for an indefinite period from today.
Violence also erupted at Cox's Bazar Polytechnic Institute. The students barricaded Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway for four hours, causing immense sufferings to commuters.
In Barisal, students of the Polytechnic Institute tried to bring out a procession on the campus.

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