Thousands of students, mostly teenagers, took to the streets in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country for the fourth straight day on Wednesday, seeking justice in the killing of two of their fellows in a road accident in the capital on Sunday.
Besides the city’s major roads, the wave of the student movement spread even to different small intersections where the students in groups demonstrated by putting up blockade, chanting slogans and checking the licences of different vehicles, especially of buses, pick-up vans and mini-trucks.
The cars and motorcycles of the police also came under the purview of checks the videos of which became viral on social media.
A student of Government Tolaram College in Narayanganj was injured as he fell under a pick-up van that began to move speedily defying the protesters barricade as they wanted to see the driver’s licence at Shanir Akhra point in the capital in the morning, witnesses and the victim’s family said.
Gridlocks were seen at and around the points where the students put blockades while at other places there was severe scarcity of transports. The protesters, however, made way for the vehicles carrying patients, children and elderly people.
During the protests, processions of the students demanding justice were seen on different roads in the city and the students vandalised a number of buses at different points in the capital.
The protesters blocked Shahbagh, Farmgate, Kakrail intersection, Jatrabari, Science Laboratory, Babu Bazar Bridge, Kabi Nazrul Government College road, Agargaon, Mirpur, Shanir Akhra, Kakoli, House Building road of Uttara, Matijheel, Mouchak, Banglamotors, Rampura and several other places in the capital.
The protesters also chanted slogans demanding resignation of shipping minister
Shajahan Khan, who is also a transport sector leader, for smiling over the deaths of the two students at Kurmitola.
The agitated students sent back commerce minister Tofail Ahmed as he was heading towards Banglamotors from Shabagh on the wrong lane of the street in his BMW along with the police protection van around 1:40pm as he was proceeding with the flag-car violating traffic rules.
As the minister’s bodyguards and members in his protection team requested the protesters to allow the minister to go back as they chanted slogan ‘law is equal for all.’
At one stage, the protesters sat down in front of the car and the minister finally went back towards Shahbagh.
Though huge contingent of police was deployed in different areas, none were seen to go for action to disperse the protesters. Police personnel were seen calm while talking to them at different places.
Students also demonstrated at Tongi in Gazipur and several points of Narayanganj, Barisal, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chittagong, reports received from the districts said.
Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib, two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College, were killed and at least 12 others injured as a bus ploughed through a crowd of students who were waiting for buses in front of Kurmitola General Hospital on Airport Road on Sunday.
The students took to the streets in Dhaka on the day and placed a nine-point demand including justice for the deceased ones, apology of shipping minister Shahjahan Khan and safe roads.
Meanwhile, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, after an inter-ministerial meeting with senior road transport sector officials, called upon agitating students to return to their classrooms from the streets and assured them that all of their demands were accepted and that the government would take all-out measures from Wednesday to implement the demands for road safety.
Besides, the government on the day asked for closure of all secondary schools, colleges and universities across the country for today considering law and order and safety of students.
A court in Dhaka allowed a seven-day remand in police custody for interrogation for Masum Billah, 30, driver of the Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan that killed the two students, after inspector Kazi Shariful Huq of detective branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police produced him before the court seeking a 10-day remand.
Rapid Action Battalion-1, on the other hand, detained the Jabal-e-Noor bus owner Shahadot Hossain, according to a text message sent to media Wednesday evening.
Shipping minster Shahjahan Khan visited the residence of deceased Diya in the city’s Mahakhali, consoled the family members, explained the reason of his smile during Sunday’s comments and sought apology for his behaviour Wednesday afternoon, Diya’s father Md Jahangir Alam said.
At Shanir Akhra, several hundred students of educational institutions of adjacent areas including that of Doniya College put blockade about 9:00am and began to check licences of drivers.
Around 9:30am, as the students, surrounding a pick-up van, wanted to see the licence of its driver but the driver, without showing it began to move when a class XII student of Government Tolaram College, Faisal Mahmud, 18, who had been passing by the place fell under it and got his left hip-joint fractured and his lips cut, witnesses and the victim told New Age.
He was rushed to nearby Pro-Active Medical College Hospital where orthopaedic consultant ATM Bahar Uddin, after examining him, said that the fracture was nothing serious.
Later around 10:00pm, Faisal was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital as he suffered from urinary tract infection and bleeding with urine, DMC police outpost sub-inspector Bachchu Mia said.
DMC urology department on-duty doctor Md Selim examined the health condition of Faisal and found the urine infection not so serious.
Faisal was later referred to surgery department for further examination.
Faisal’s maternal uncle Abdul Kaium said that they took Faisal to DMC for better treatment as his health situation worsened.
The college students then searched the area for the pick-up van and then rushed to nearby United Petrol Pump where they vandalised a pick-up van suspecting it to be the one that hit their fellow and three other buses parked there, witnesses said.
At Science Laboratory intersection, several hundred students of City College, Dhanmondi Ideal College, Dhaka College, Government Laboratory College and World University and other educational institutions in the area demonstrated by putting up barricade there about 11:00am, halting traffic in the adjacent area.
The agitating students also vandalised a number of buses sometimes after 12:00pm and left the place about 4:00pm when they warned to block the road at the place if their demands were not met by today morning.
At Farmgate and Banglamotors intersections, the students took position on roads about 11:00am and, in groups, chanted slogans seeking justice and safe road and were seen to check driving licences of drivers.
The drivers were seen showing their licences before the students asked for them, witnesses said, adding that the students took away the keys of the vehicles from the drivers who could not show their driving licences.
‘It is now our duty to check the anarchy in transport sector as our parents give tax to the government, which failed to ensure safe road for us. We want justice. We want safe road,’ said a protester at Banglamotors about 2:30pm.
Witnesses said that severe gridlock was witnessed on the roads until the protesters left the area around 4:00pm.
Girl students of Government Ideal College demonstrated for over an hour by blocking the Mouchak intersection since 1:30pm.
Some boy students of a nearby school vandalised a bus of Motijheel Paribahan of route no 6 in front of Century Arced on Shaheed Sangbadik Selina Parvin Sarak about 2:00pm.
At Matijheel, students of Notre Dame College blocked the Shapla Square between about 12:45pm and 3:00pm.
Students of Shaheed Ramij Uddin Cantonment College and other institutions demonstrated at Airport Intersection and at Sheora Bus Stoppage on Airport road.
Students of Willes Little Flower School demonstrated at Kakrail Intersection.
At Mirpur, the protesters vandalised at least 20 vehicles including one police pick-up van from Mirpur-2 to Mirpur-10, witnesses said.
At Shahbagh, thousands of students from at least 10 educational institutions including Sheikh Burhanuddin College and Eden College blocked Shahbagh intersection about 12:00pm after marching the Science Lab area.
Later, they set fire to an effigy of shipping minister Shajahan Khan demanding his resignation.
About 2:00pm, a protester, Hasib Sobuj, announced that the students would block roads in the city if the government failed to meet the students’ demands by Thursday noon.
They left the place about 4:00pm.
In Narayanganj, agitated students of students of Government Tolaram College, Narayanganj College, Narayanganj Women’s College and Narayanganj Model College blocked Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road, old Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road and Narayanganj Adamjee-Simrail Road, halting traffic, reported our correspondent from the district, quoting police.
In Gazipur, students of EH Arif College blocked Dhaka-Tangail highway at Konabari about 10:00am, our district correspondent reported.
New Age staff correspondent in Chittagong reported that students of BF Shaheen College, Haji Mohsin College, Govt City College, Dewanhat City Corporation College and BEPZA College, under the banner of Sadharan Sikkharthi Forum, demanded justice in a procession that paraded Kajir Dewri, Jamal Khan, Goni Bekari More and Guljar More before meeting in a protest rally in front of Chittagong Press Club.
New Age Mymensingh correspondent reported that teenage students demonstrated by blocking at least five points in the divisional town and were locked in clashes with police when police tried to disperse them. The students also vandalised several vehicles during the clashes.
In Sylhet, students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology staged demonstrations on the campus expressing solidarity with nine-point demands of Shaheed Ramij Uddin Cantonment College.
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