Durga Puja violence: DU teachers, students withdraw Shahbagh blockade

A section of teachers and students of Dhaka University withdrew their blockade at Shahbagh intersection in the capital this afternoon -- after two and a half hours.

DU's agitating teachers and students took position on the intersection around 11:45am, protesting vandalism of temples and mandaps during Durga Puja in several districts and arson attack on shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community in Rangpur last night.

The protesters also announced a 24-hour ultimatum to the home minister for meeting their seven point demands and said they will go for a tougher protest if another incident of vandalism happens, reports our DU correspondent.

They withdrew the blockade around 2:30pm as they received assurance from the prime minister.

While the blockade was going on, a team on behalf of the protesters went to meet the prime minister.  

Several organisations of the Hindu community also took part in the protest arranged by DU students.

DU students placed their seven point demands during the programme, including renovation of the vandalised temples, compensation for the looted shops and houses of Hindus, ensuring highest punishment of the attackers by legislation in the Jatiya Sangsad, formation of a Minority Ministry and commission.

They sat on the street and chanted slogans including "Why were temples attacked? We demand answers from administration" and "Minority Ministry must be formed."

Vehicular movement from Shahbagh to Paltan, Science Lab, Bangla Motor, TSC and other places were halted due to the blockade around 1pm.

"The spirit of the Liberation War embodies that people of all religions will have equal rights to practice their respective faiths in this country," Prof Mihir Lal Saha, provost of DU's Jagannath Hall, said during the protest.

"First of all, we are human beings. Fanatics have vandalised our idols. We are not Rohingya refugees, we are citizens of this country," he said.

"We want equality. We want exemplary punishment for those involved in these attacks. We seek the intervention of the prime minister," he added.


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