Politicians, eminent citizens and different student organisations on Wednesday demanded immediate release of the detained students and withdrawal of cases filed against them during the recent protests for road safety.
In separate statements and at rallies in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh, they also protested at the attacks on protesting students and journalists and demanded stopping repression on them and bringing the attackers to book.
They made the demands as the police filed 34 cases against protesters and arrested at least 37 people, mostly protesting students, for violence triggered by attacks on the protesters reportedly by ruling Awami League and its front body activists.
Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University on Wednesday suspended six students – Zakia Rahman and Zakia Begum of environmental science and resource management, Sumaia Islam of statistics, Md Tanvir Hasan of computer science and engineering, Obaidullah of physics and Md Imran Hossain of mathematics – on allegation of making derogatory remarks on prime minister Sheikh Hasina and spreading rumours during the student protests.
It also notified two students Mehnaz Zaman of criminology and police science and Shubhra Debnath of computer science and engineering – to explain why they would not be expelled on the similar allegations, said proctor Md Sirajul Islam
Left Democratic Alliance leaders – Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim and general secretary Md Shah Alam, Socialist Party of Bangladesh secretary Khalequzzaman, Biplobi Workers’ Party general secretary Saiful Huq, Socialist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist) coordinator Mubinul Haider Chowdhury, Ganasanghati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki, United Communist League general secretary Mosharraf Hossain Nannu, Democratic Revolutionary Party general secretary Moshrefa Mishu and Samajtantrik Andolan convener Hamidul Huq – in a joint statement demanded immediate release of the students detained during the protests for road safety.
They urged the government to stop repression on the students and warned the authorities of schools, colleges and universities that punishments for joining protests would not be tolerated.
Dhaka city unit of SPB at a rally in front of the National Press Club condemned attacks on students and on-duty journalists by the police and pro-Awami League activists and demanded an end to attacks on and prosecution and arrests of the protesting students.
They demanded release of the detained students and withdrawal of cases against them immediately.
Dhaka city SPB convener Bazlur Rashid Firoz chaired the rally.
Sixty-nine eminent citizens, including human rights activists Hameeda Hossain and Shaheen Anam, health rights activist Zafrullah Chowdhury, architect Bashirul Haq, lawyer Raja Devashish Roy, Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman and Sujon chairperson M Hafizuddin Khan, in a statement demanded putting an end to repression on students, academics, journalists and human rights activists immediately.
They also demanded release of the people detained and steps to ensure road safety, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association for all, without discrimination.
Bangladesh Chhatra Union president GM Jelani Shuvo and general secretary Liton Nandi in a statement said the government must take the responsibility for violence during the peaceful just movement.
They demanded that the perpetrators must be identified and brought to book,the detained students be released and cases filed against them be withdrawn.
Progressive Students’ Alliance, an alliance of left-leaning student organisations, brought out a procession from Madhur Canteen at the Dhaka University and ended in a rally at Aparajeya Bangla after parading main streets of the campus.
Addressing the rally, the student leaders demanded immediate release of detained students and acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam, effective measures for ensuring road safety, arrest and punishment of attackers on students and journalists and training for drivers and other transport staff.
Ruling Awami League-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on early Wednesday handed over Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology third year student Taiyan Nasif Pradhan to police after beating him of allegation of ‘spreading rumours’.
Chawakbazar police station officer-in-charge Shamimur Rashid Talukder said that Chattra League leaders handed Taiyan over to them and they handed him over to cyber crime unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police who were dealing with the cases of spreading rumours.
He said that the student was not shown arrested in any case until 10:15pm.
An official of Shahbagh police station said that they picked up at least 30 school and college students from Shahbagh for their suspicious movement until noon but all of them were handed over to their parents and guardians later.
Shahbagh police station officer-in-charge Abul Hasan said that they released all the students.
In Kushtia, journalists of Islamic University formed a human chain in front of the university main entrance protesting at the attack on journalists and demanded immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers.
Scores of student protesters and at least 20 journalists were injured on Sunday and Monday as police and pro-Awami League activists attacked students protesting for road safety at places in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh.
Teenage students, mostly of schools and colleges, took to streets for nine-point demands, including justice for the death of their fellows at Kurmitola and safe roads on July 29, immediately after two students of Shaheed Ramij Uddin Cantonment College were killed and 12 others injured when a bus, racing two others, ploughed through a crowd of students and others waiting for transport at Kurmitola in Dhaka.
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