Students withdraw blockade after daylong protests

Staff Correspondent | Published: 09:51, Mar 19,2019 | Updated: 00:31, Mar 20,2019


Students of different private universities block road in front of Jamuna Future Park at Bashundhara in the capital after a road accident in the area that killed a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals on Tuesday morning. -- Abdullah Apu

Students of different private universities withdrew their blockade at Pragati Sarani on Tuesday evening after daylong demonstration following death of a student of Bangladesh University of Professionals.

The students said they will resume their demonstration on Wednesday morning to press for their demands.

They blocked Pragati Sarani in front of Jamuna Future Park at Bashundhara to press home their eight-point charter of demands including construction of a footbridge at the accident spot, stop movement of all unfit vehicles and checking documents of drivers and vehicles.

Huge traffic congestion created at the adjacent areas which also spread almost all over the city since morning till writing this report at 6:30pm.

Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury, son of retired brigadier general Arif Ahmed Chowdhury of Bashundhara area and an honours first year student of international relations at BUP, died on the spot after Suprabhat Paribahan bus hit him while crossing the Pragati Sarani.

Witnesses said that the student was crossing the road through zebra crossing while the mindless driver run over him and dragged him for several metres.

Abrar’s father was also present when the accident took place.

As the news spread, students of different universities including BUP, North South University, American International University-Bangladesh, United International University and Independent University, Bangladesh took to the street and blocked the road put buses across the street.

Around 10:30am, Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Atiqul Alam came at the spot and assured the protesters to meet their demands but the students did not leave and continued to protest.

Around 12:30pm at the road a Suprabhat Paribahan bus caught fire.

DMP assistant commissioner (traffic) Badda zone Abdullah Al Mamun told New Age that he got information that the students of IUB and North South University put fire on the bus while the students of BUP put off the fire.

The bus did not bring damaged badly, he said. 

Gulshan police station sub inspector Nazrul Islam told New Age that they arrested the driver Sirajul Islam who was driving with a licence for driving light vehicles.

The autopsy of Abrar held at Kurmitola General Hospital and then the body handed over to the family members.

His first namaj-e-janza held at BUP campus while DNCC mayor, BUP vice-chancellor Major General Md Emdad-Ul-Bari and others were present.

Movement of vehicles started at Pragati Sarani in the capital from around 6:10pm on Tuesday after the protesters called off their demonstration.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s traffic department officials were seen to remove the buses, which were kept across the road to block movement of other vehicles.

DNCC mayor Md Atiqul Islam on Tuesday evening announced that foundation for a footbridge would be laid at the accident spot at 2:00pm on Wednesday.

He also instructed to cancel the route permit and registration of the bus involved in the accident.

Tens of thousands of Dhaka students had rallied for days in August 2018 after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.

The demonstrators, mostly students in their mid-teens, chanted ‘we want justice’ as they defied pouring rain to march in the capital, Dhaka, bringing traffic to a standstill.

College studetns Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib died in the accident on July 29, 2018.

The protests were spontaneous and disorganised, with the students not appearing to have any spokespersons or leadership and they went back home on assurance from the government to ensure road safety.

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