The fast-unto-death strike by 27 students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) demanding the Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed’s resignation entered the seventh day on Tuesday with no sign of ending the stalemate in sight.
They have been on the hunger strike since January 19, demanding the resignation of Vice-Chancellor following the police action on the protesting students as his behest on January 16.
Meanwhile, the free medical treatments for students who are on hunger strike and their mobile phone services have been allegedly suspended.
A medical team on intern doctors from Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, who had been voluntarily providing services to students for the last six days, withdrew their services on Monday night.
The students said their mobile phone numbers have been deactivated since Monday noon.
On the other hand, Criminal Investigation Department of Police in capital Dhaka arrested five ex students of the university and handed them over plainclothes police of Sylhet
“The arrested five ex students of SUST are being brought to Sylhet from capital Dhaka. They were arrested on charges of aiding the protesters,” Sylhet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Nisharul Arif told journalists on Tuesday.
They were arrested from the capital Dhaka’s Uttara and Farmgate areas, he said, adding the next steps will be taken after their arrival here.
Out of five, three former students have been identified as Habibur Rahman Swapan of Computer Science and Engineering department and Reza Nur Muin Deep and Nazmus Sakib Dwip of Architecture Department.
On the other hand, most of the 27 students on hunger strike are suffering from low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels and convulsions.
Therefore, the sudden withdrawal of the medical support could pose serious risks to their health, the students said.
Meanwhile, the protesting students restored the electricity connection to the Vice-Chancellor’s official residence.
However, the students vowed to continue with their hunger strike till the Vice-Chancellor steps down.
Earlier on Monday evening, Proctor Alamgir Kabir, an associate professor, first tried to persuade the protesting students to end their fast-unto-Vice-Chancellor’s resignation protest.
The student, however, refused to break the fast and instead locked into an argument with the teachers for not supporting their protest.
Later the teachers tried to get into the Vice-Chancellor’s residence with food, beverages and medicines but it failed to go through the human chain surrounding the place.
And the students on Tuesday again called upon the President to remove the Vice-Chancellor for the sake of the university.
Earlier on January 17, 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 January 19 as the Vice-Chancellor refused to resign.
Later, four more joined the hunger strike.
But many students have not left the campus yet, staging demonstrations, taking and out processions while 27 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.
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.