Sixteen students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), now on a fast-unto-death strike demanding resignation of the university’s Vice-Chancellor, have been hospitalised after they fell seriously ill.
The hunger strike entered the fourth day on Saturday with no sign of improvement to break the deadlock in this regard.
The protesting students especially those who are on hunger strike have already passed the 78 hours under the open sky amid biting cold without having food and water.
The students are being given intravenous rehydration and nutrition supplements.
Mohammad Mustakim, an intern doctor of a team of physician of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital told reporters on the spot on Saturday that the health condition of the rest seven has deteriorated further.
“We are very worried about their health, as their medical condition is getting worse. 16 students have already been hospitalised and the sugar level of others are falling for which we are asking the students to take care of themselves,” the intern physician said, adding it is natural that the hunger strike is taking its toll seriously on their body quickly.
The intern doctors have been providing treatment to the students who are now on hunger strike since Friday morning.
The students again expressed vow to continue their hunger strike the Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed steps down.
They also categorically said no discussion can take place but Vice-Chancellor’s resignation.
They again on Saturday urged the President to remove the Vice-Chancellor for the sake of the university, the students and their rights, and only then will the hunger strike and the protest demonstrations end.
Earlier on Monday, the protesting students wrote an open letter to President Abdul Hamid, demanding the immediate removal of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed. The President is the Chancellor of the university.
Some 24 students began the ‘hunger strike until death’ in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s residence at 2:50pm on Wednesday as the Vice-Chancellor refused to resign.
But many students have not left the campus yet, staging demonstrations, taking and out processions while 23 have been on hunger strike demanding the Vice-Chancellor resignation.
The education minister, university teachers and local Awami League leaders continued trying their level to solve the crisis.
But they have failed to convince the students as they have made their stand clear that they would not break the hunger strike until the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor.
On Friday Education Minister Dipu Moni talked to the protesting students over phone in order to try to end the impasse.
During the conversation she said that she would look into the issue.
The protesting students have also expressed interest in meeting the minister.
However, in the afternoon on the day the students said they would continue to protest even if the campus is declared closed.
And the students requested Dipu Moni to visit the SUST campus or take part in a virtual meeting as what they said they are very sick and unable to travel to Dhaka.
Meanwhile, a five-member delegation of SUST Teachers Association led by its President Tulsi Kumar Das is now in capital Dhaka to meet with the education minister.
On the other hand, academic, civil society members and former teachers of the university expressed deep concern about the current crisis at SUST.
They also urged the government to take the issue seriously in order to put an end to the crisis.
It may be mentioned that on January 13, students of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall launched a protest after Provost Zafrin Ahmed Liza reportedly misbehaved with a student, who called her to report mismanagement at the dormitory.
Since then students started demanding the Vice-Chancellor’s resignation after over 50 students were injured, as police entered the campus and used truncheons, rubber bullets and sound grenades on January 16 evening to take the Vice-Chancellor, who was confined at the IICT Building in the campus, away.
And the authorities closed the SUST for an indefinite period following a clash between two students and cops on the campus, asking the students to leave their respective dormitories by January 17.