The protesting students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology said on Monday that they would resume their agitation seeking justice for their murdered fellow student Abrar Fahad from Tuesday (today).
Representing the BUET protesters, Antara Tithi, a fourth-year student, told reporters on Monday evening that they would resume their protest today and announce the next programme.
In the afternoon, suspended BUET unit BCL organising secretary Mehedi Hasan Robin gave a statement to metropolitan magistrate Md Tofazzal Hossain confessing his participation in the crime.
He said that he had led the attack on Abrar and slapped and punched him first.
Detective branch of police inspector Md Wahiduzzaman, also investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court after a five-day remand and the court sent him to jail, court officials said.
With Mehedi, a total of five accused have so far made statements to different magistrate courts at different dates in connection with the case.
The BUET students relaxed their protest programme for Sunday and Monday for the university’s admission tests, which were held peacefully on Monday.
At one stage uncertainty had loomed over holding the admission tests at the university as its students have been continuously protesting since October 7 after Abrar’s murder.
A second-year student of electrical and electronics engineering, Abrar was tortured to death by leaders and activists of the university’s Bangladesh Chhatra League unit at his dorm on October 7 early hours.
The students later relaxed their agitation after the BUET vice-chancellor and other teachers requested them to withdraw their movement in view of the admission tests.
On Monday the three-hour admission tests began at 9:00am simultaneously at different centres on the campus and continued till 12:00pm.
The applicants seeking admission to architecture department sat for additional tests held from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
Over 12,000 students appeared at the admission tests at the country’s premier engineering university, where streets, walls and buildings bear various marks of protests – slogans, cartoons and other forms of painting – seeking justice for Abrar.
‘We want justice for Abrar . . . we don’t want any more student to meet the fate of Abrar in the future,’ said Konika Rani from Kushtia, whose son sat for the test.
The applicants said that they were expecting a peaceful and safe campus.
‘We welcome the decision by the BUET authorities of banning political organisations and activities at the university,’ said Anik from Rangpur, an applicant.
Meanwhile, when the admission tests were going on, they collected signatures of parents and guardians of students to press for justice for Abarar.
The admission-seekers, in rows, started arriving on the BUET campus through Palashi and Chankhar Pool gates amid tight security from 7:00am.
BUET vice-chancellor Saiful Islam told reporters that the admission tests were held in a nice atmosphere.
He said that he would talk to the protesting students so that they returned to the classroom.
‘I support all their demands and am working to implement those,’ he said.
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 drives 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.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Chhatra League on Monday expelled murder accused Amit Saha, law affairs secretary of BUET unit of BCL, from the organisation.
The student organisation in a statement said that Amit was expelled as their own investigation found his involvement in the murder of Abrar, though he was not present on the spot.
Though the name of Amit, a third-year student of civil engineering, was not in the first information report of the murder case, he was arrested on October 10 as police said his involvement was found in the murder after investigation.
Police so far arrested 19 accused students including 15 listed in the FIR.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police additional commissioner Monirul Islam on Monday told reporters at a news conference at the DMP that police expected to complete the investigation by early November.
He said that the interrogation of the arrested accused revealed that Abrar was tortured on suspicion that he was involved in Islami Chhatra Shibir politics.
He died at one stage of the torture but the motive of the murder could be known after the investigation was completed, he said.
Protests seeking justice for Abrar’s murder continued at places across the country on Monday.
Left student wing Bangladesh Chhatra Federation in a press conference at Dhaka University’s Madhu’s canteen demanded justice for Abrar.
They also demanded to scrap the bilateral deal between India-Bangladesh which would allow India to withdraw water from river Feni.
Communist Party of Bangladesh’s women cell leaders on Monday at a protest rally beside the National Press Club in the capital called on the government to ensure exemplary punishment to the killers of Abrar.
A group of teachers of Bangladesh Agricultural University under the banner of Sonali Dal on the day held a human chain in front of the Mukta Mancha stage on the campus demanding punishment to Abrar’s killers and an end to student torture in the name of ragging and to the ‘guest room’ culture at the universities.
Reports received from Jashore and Barishal said that two civic organisations in those two cities formed two human chains demanding justice for Abrar.
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