All stage protests for re-elections

BCL later calls off protests, extends support to VP-elect Nurul Huq

Sadiqur Rahman and Arifur Rahman | Published: 23:52, Mar 12,2019 | Updated: 00:08, Mar 13,2019


Left, Bangladesh Chhatra League activists observe sit-in in front of Dhaka University vice-chancellor’s house on Tuesday demanding re-election to DUCSU vice-president, and, right, students of different organisations and panels bring out a procession on the campus on Tuesday in protest at rigging in DUCSU elections. — Sony Ramany

All student organisations, including the ruling Awami League-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League, who contested Monday’s elections to the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union and hall students’ unions, staged protests on the campus on Tuesday for re-elections.
Activists of Chhatra League and opposition student organisations also chased and counter-chased each other and DUCSU vice-president-elect Nurul Huq Nur of Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakshan Parishad was also attacked by Chhatra League activists.
Later in the day, however, Chhatra League leaders postponed their protests and met Nurul Huq Nur and extended their supports to him.
The opposition student bodies issued a three-day the university authorities demanding schedule for re-elections to all the DUCSU and hall union positions and resignation of the people engaged in conducting the elections, marred by alleged flaws and fraud.
Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakshan Parishad, Pragatishil Chhatra Oikya, Swatantra Jote, Chhatra Federation, Swadhikar Swatantra Parishad issued the ultimatum at a joint press conference in front of Teachers Students Centre in the evening.
Terming the election as an ‘ignominious chapter’, Liton Nandi, vice-president candidate from Pragatishil Chhatra Oikkya, said that they would hold a protest rally today at Raju Memorial Sculpture and would submit their demand to the vice-chancellor.
DUCSU vice-president-elect Nurul Huq Nur also demanded re-elections to all positions in DUCSU and hall unions, saying that the re-elections must be held by March 31 as per a High Court verdict.
‘The election which held after 28 years is not acceptable to the students and I would request the administration to hold the election again cancelling the controversial and doubtful polls,’ he told reporters at the TSC in the evening.
‘As the election was controversial, people engaged in conducting the polls must resign and fresh committee with neutral teachers must be formed for the re-elections.’
He, however, said that he would join the installation ceremony of the newly elected DUCSU.
Vice-chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman said that the elections were already held and results were announced. ‘We have to follow democratic rules and DUCSU constitution.’
Liton Nandi announced the demands and fresh programmes of the protesting student bodies at the joint press conference attended by leaders of protesting organisations, including Shadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakshan Parishad general secretary candidate Md Rashed Khan and assistant general secretary contestant Md Faruk Hossen, Swatantra Jote vice-president contestant Auroni Semonti Khan and Swadhikar Swatantra Parishad general secretary contestant ARM Asifur Rahman.
Five students — Anindya Mandal of philosophy, Tawhid Tanjim of computer and engineering, Moin Uddin of population science, Shoyeb Mahmud of physics and Rony Hossain of geography — Tuesday evening sat in a fast-unto-death demanding re-elections to DUCSU and hall unions.
Shoyeb told reporters that DUCSU polls tarnished the image of the Dhaka University.
They would continue fast until the university authorities cancelled the polls, he said.
Since Tuesday morning, supporters of Bangladesh Chhatra League president and DUCSU vice-president contestant Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, protesting against the DUCSU polls results, staged protests in front of vice-chancellor’s house.
Chhatra League general secretary and DUCSU general secretary-elect Golam Rabbani, addressing the rally, demanded re-elections to DUCSU and cancellation of studentship of Nurul.
Swatantra Jote supporters brought out a procession on the campus demanding re-elections. They took position at Teachers Students Centre.
When Nurul along with his supporters reached TSC to attend a joint briefing of the protesting groups, Chhatra League activists attacked them at about 1:45pm, witnesses said.
Nurul escaped the attack while a number of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal activists, who were gathering at TSC, were beaten up by Chhatra League activists, they said.
Chhatra Dal’s vice-president contestant Anisur Rahman Khandaker Anik said that at least eight Chhatra Dal activists, including DUCSU social welfare secretary contestant Touhidul Islam, were injured.
Groups boycotting the polls brought out a procession on the campus at about noon protesting against the attack.
At a brief rally at Raju Memorial Sculpture, Nurul demanded re-elections to all but DUCSU vice-president and social welfare secretary.
After the rally, the protesters sat for a meeting at TSC to decide the next course of actions.
Chhatra League staged protests on the campus till 2:30pm opposing Nurul Huq as vice-president-elect, but later in the afternoon welcomed him.
Agitating Chhatra League activists occupied the place in front of the vice-chancellor’s house till noon, when Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon called his supporters to accept the result and call off the protests.
Addressing a briefing at Madhu’s canteen at 2:30pm, Rezwanul requested his supporters to accept Nurul as DUCSU vice-president.
After the briefing, he flanked by supporters reached TSC to meet Nurul.
At the TSC Auditorium, Rezwanul gave Nurul a warm reception and labelled the vice-president-elect as the leader of all student groups of the university.
He requested Nurul to act as a responsible DUCSU leader.
Outside the auditorium, while sharing his opinion with journalists, Nurul said that he called off boycott of classes and examination.
Dance department student Marjuka Raina filed a case with Shahbagh police station Monday night against 30-40 students including Nurul Huq and Bangladesh Chhatra Union general secretary Liton Nandi, general secretary candidate and Chhatra Federation president Umme Habiba Benojir, accusing them of humiliating Ruqayyah Hall provost Zennat Huda, Shahbagh police station officer-in-charge Abdul Hasan said.
Dhaka court’s general recording officer for Shahbagh police station Nizam Uddin said that the first information report was forwarded to a metropolitan magistrate’s court that asked Shahbagh police to submit investigation report into the case by April 17.
General students of Ruqayyah Hall began protests on the hall premises Tuesday evening demanding withdrawal of the provost and re-election to Ruqayyah Hall Students’ Union.
The demonstration was continuing until 11:00pm while filing the report.
The Dhaka University Teachers Association in a statement congratulated the newly elected DUCSU leaders and said that the elections were held in a free and fair environment and students choose their leaders.
Of the 13 contesting panels, Pragatishil Chhatra Oikya, Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakshan Parishad, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Swatantra Jote, Chhatra Federation, Swadhikar Swatantra Prishad and Islami Shasantantra Chhatra Andolan announce boycott midway through the polling on Monday protesting at the alleged vote rigging by Chhatra League.

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