Protests flare up at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj on Thursday as the students began fast-unto-death in the evening after daylong sit-in demanding resignation of its vice-chancellor Khondokar Nasiruddin.
More than two hundred students began fast-unto-death at the administrative building of the university around 7:00pm.
The students accused vice-chancellor Khondoker Md Nasiruddin of being involved in activities like recruitment business, misappropriation of money, and sexual harassment.
Earlier in the morning, several thousand students brought out a procession from Jai Bangla Chattar on the campus and took position in front of the administration building. They locked the gate of the building which houses the vice-chancellor’s office.
The students were on demonstration till filing of this report in the afternoon.
The single-point demand of removing the vice-chancellor came at 9:00pm Wednesday when four student leaders Jahangir Alam, Abu Taher, Sheikh Tarek and Babul Shikdar Babu talked live on social media about the existing problems and corruption prevailing at the university and residents of Bijay Dibas Hall first demanded resignation of Khondokar Nasiruddin.
In the face of students agitation, the university’s registrar Nuruddin Ahmed midnight past Wednesday issued an office order citing 14 decisions assuring the students of solving all the problems prevailing at the university at the earliest.
But the protesters rejected the notice and continued with demonstrations demanding removal of the vice-chancellor.
Rathindranath Bappi, president of BSMRSTU unit Bangladesh Chhatra Union, said vice-chacnellor Khondokar Nasiruddin was involved in various misdeeds including recruitment business, misappropriation of money and sexual harassment.
‘Besides, he was also involved with ultra-rightist politics. Such a person cannot hold the office of vice-chancellor of a university which is named after Bangabandhu,’ he said at the demonstration.
The protesters alleged that the vice-chancellor was trying to obstruct the students’ demonstration.
A group of students led by management student Ariful Islam Sakib tried attack the protesters twice on the day.
Alongside students’ agitation, group of teachers under the banner of Sachetan Shikkhak Samaj also came up with a 16-point charter of demands to ensure congenial academic atmosphere on the campus. They also extended support to the students’ demands.
The university journalists association also formed a human chain at noon and placed five demands including ensuring safety of journalists, freedom of speech on the campus.
Meanwhile, the university authority cancelled examination for recruiting teachers citing unavoidable circumstances.
Vice-chancellor Nasiruddin drew widespread crtricism and protests after he had suspended a second year student Fatema Tuz Zinia, also university correspondent of a national daily, for her facebook post, ‘what is the function of a university?’ , which the authorities found had tarnished university’s image.
The university had suspended 15 students in 2019 and nine of them were suspended for facebook posts. Twenty-one students also faced show-cause notices and of them 14 notices were served for demanding fair price of paddy for the growers.
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