BUET continues drive against outsiders

Admission tests today, 2 more on remand, another gives statement

Manzur H Maswood and Arifur Rahman  | Published: 00:18, Oct 14,2019 | Updated: 00:41, Oct 14,2019


Police take Abrar Fahad murder suspects and BUET students Shamim Billah and Moaz Abu Horaira to Dhaka CMM court on Sunday. — New Age photo

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology on Sunday continued the drive against the outsiders and succeeded in ousting about ninety per cent of them in response to a demand by the university’s protesting students.

The authorities also sealed off a number of rooms at different dorms which were used as the BCL ‘offices’.

BUET director of student welfare Mizanur Rahman told reporters that already 90 per cent of non-students and outsiders were ousted from the campus.

‘All the hall provosts are conducting drives and have already ousted 90 per cent of non-students and outsiders residing at the halls,’ he said while talking to reporters in the afternoon.

‘We are working to oust the remaining outsiders at the earliest,’ he added.

He also said that they were sincere in fulfilling all the demands the students  placed and hoped that they would go back to the classroom.

The university passed a quiet but gloomy day on the day as the students did not hold any protest rallies on the campus over the murder of their fellow student Abrar Fahad.

The students relaxed their protest programme for Sunday and Monday for the admission tests today.

But the whole campus was seemingly mourning for Abrar, a second-year electrical and electronic engineering student, who was tortured to death by leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League at his dorm on October 7 early hours.

‘It’s really hard to accept that our brother [Abrar] is no more with us,’ said a classmate.

She said that they would continue their protests to the last for making the campus safe.

‘We lost Abrar due to a brutal political culture, but he is now our inspiration,’ said another student of Sher-e-Bangla Hall, where Abrar resided.

He was killed reportedly for his critical views on social media over the recently signed deals between Bangladesh and India.

After six days of protests that practically kept BUET shut till Saturday, the administrative activities resumed at the university on Sunday as the two-day respite in the agitation for the admission tests took effect.

BUET vice-chancellor Saiful Islam said that they were working to hold the admission test smoothly.

‘All the preparations have been taken,’ he said, urging the admission seekers to appear at the institution by 8:00am.

Over 12,000 students will sit for today’s admission test at the country’s premier engineering university, where streets, walls and buildings are bearing various marks of protest –  slogans, cartoons and other forms of painting – seeking justice for Abrar.

Saiful Islam on Sunday also told reporters that the demands the students placed were reasonable and he was working with the government to fully implement them.

‘I haven’t accepted the demands from any pressure,’ he said.

‘The demands are reasonable and that is why we have accepted them,’ he said while talking to reporters at his office.

The vice-chancellor said that meeting all the demands was not entirely under his authority. ‘I’ve accepted them in principle and I have to get them realised by the government,’ he said.

‘I’m tied up . . . I cannot implement all the demands on my own, the government [will have to implement some],’ he said.

‘But I am hopeful that all the demands could be met,’ he said, adding that he had already started working with the government, including with the education minister, in this regard.

Police so far arrested 19 accused in the murder case.

On Sunday, two accused students Shamim Billah and Moaz Abu Horaira, who were arrested on Friday and Saturday respectively, were remanded by the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Mamunur Rashid for interrogation for five days each after they were produced before the court seeking a 10-day remand.

Another accused student Mujahidur Rahman Mujahid, who was arrested after the murder of Abrar on October 7, confessed on Sunday to his participation in the murder.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Nivana Khair Jesi recorded his statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, said bench clerk Zahid Hassan.

The BUET students have been pressing for realising their 10-point demands including rustication of the killers of Abrar from the university, capital punishment for them, compensation to Abrar’s family, bearing the family expenses for running the case, speedy trial of the case, making the charge-sheet public, rustication from the university of all those involved in torturing students in the past and banning organisation-based student politics at the BUET.

In the face of the student agitation, the BUET authorities on Saturday issued five separate notices signed by the university’s acting registrar Saidur Rahman, announcing a ban on organisation-based politics, conducting a drive against illegal occupants at the dormitories and sealing off the student organisation offices on the campus, introducing a web portal where students could file complaints about any kind of abuse.

Protests at different universities across the country continued seeking justice for Abrar.

Students of Dhaka University, led by its central student union vice-president Nurul Huq Nur, on Sunday afternoon brought out a procession on the campus seeking justice for Abrar.

Bangladesh Student Rights Protection Council at a protest rally in front of National Museum in the capital on the day also demanded justice for Abrar.

Teachers and students of Rajshahi University on the day demanded a speedy trial of the murder case.

More than two hundred teachers and several hundred students of the university formed a human chain in front of the university’s Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Senate Building under the banner of ‘Rajshahi University Anti-Torture Teachers-Students Unity’ seeking justice for Abrar.

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