Education Minister Dipu Moni on Friday spoke to the agitating students of Sylhet’s Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) to try to end the impasse.
She talked to the students over the phone at around 3.10 pm.
During the conversation she said that she would look into the issue. She wants a peaceful solution to the issue as soon as possible and is willing to talk to students directly if they want.
The protesting students have also expressed interest in meeting the minister.
However, in the afternoon the students said they would continue to protest even if the campus is declared closed.
Earlier, a group of Bangladesh Awami League leaders led by its central committee’s organizing secretary Shafiul Alam Chowdhury Nadel spoke separately with students and Vice-Chancellor Prof Farid Uddin regarding the issue.
So far 13 of the 24 SUST students on hunger strike have been hospitalized.
The protesting students have vowed not to break their fast until the VC steps down.
In the small hours of Friday, the protesting students also brought out a torch rally and burnt the effigy of the VC on the campus.
Hours before, a delegation of teachers met the students and requested them to break their fast. But the students didn’t respond to their request.
On Monday, the protesting students wrote an open letter to President Abdul Hamid, demanding the immediate removal of VC Farid Uddin Ahmed. The president is the chancellor of the university.
The students also rejected the notice of shutting down the university for an indefinite period and the direction to leave the halls. Currently, the students are staying on the campus.
SUST was to close, following a clash on the campus between police and the protesting students on Sunday (Jan 16). Its students were asked to leave the dormitories by 12 pm on Monday.
Provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, Zafrin Ahmed was at the centre of the trouble, having reportedly misbehaved with some students. She has already resigned from her post, citing health issues.
Dr Nazia Chowdhury of the Physics department has been appointed in her place.
The removal of Zafrin as the provost of the residential hall for female students was one of the principal demands of the students protesting on the campus.