BUET Vice-Chancellor Saiful Islam faced the ire of protesters when he visited the campus two days after the murder of student Abrar Fahad.
A group of students took position outside the vice-chancellor’s office on Tuesday demonstrating for a seven-point charter of demand, including justice for Abrar murder.
They also locked down the main gate and called a strike until the murders are formally charged.
BUET students marched in a silent procession carrying lit-up candles on the campus on Tuesday to register their protest against the murder of their peer Abrar Hossain in a residential hall allegedly by Bangladesh Chhatra League adherents. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi
A spokesman for the demonstrators made the announcement after daylong protests.All sorts of academic and administrative work, including admission tests, will remain suspended, Abul Mansur, the spokesman and a student of 2015 batch, said.
The demonstrations will continue, Mansur said.
“Those yet to be caught must be arrested swiftly,” he insisted.
Some 300 students shouted slogans in protest against the VC and his administration’s “silence” over Abrar’s murder, for which they are demanding maximum punishment, death by hanging, for the killers.VC Saiful Islam was at his office on the first floor of the building when the protests were under way.
Saiful said he agreed “in principle” with the protesters’ demands, but the students continued demonstration outside his office as he was non commital about meeting their demands.
Their demands include the VC’s explanation of his absence for 30 hours after the incident.
He came to the campus at 4:15pm but did not address the demonstrators at the Shaheed Minar premises.
A hullabaloo started when he came down around 6:15pm, over an hour after the demonstrators moved to outside his office.
The protesters continued raising slogans demanding specific announcement on meeting their demands and pierced the VC with questions as he “agreed” to their demands.
After half an hour of commotion, the VC returned to his office leaving the discussions unsettled.
The demonstrators continued shouting slogans amidst applause.
The protesters from different residential halls marched in procession to the Shaheed Minar premises of the university around 10am.After daylong demonstrations there, they took position outside the VC’s office around 5pm.
Their seven demands are:
>> Capital punishment for the killers.
>> Identification and expulsion of the killers from the university within 72 hours.
>> Fast-tracked trial in a speedy tribunal.
>> Explanation of the VC’s absence for 30 hours after the incident; the protesters also seek an explanation of the teacher in charge of the Directorate of Students’ Welfare.
>> Expulsion of those involved in torturing students in the name of “ragging” and “suppressing dissent”. Students named over such incidents at Ahsanullah Hall and Suhrawardy Hall must be expelled within Oct 11, the protesters say.
>> Withdrawal of Sher-e-Bangla Hall provost for his silence over the incidents of driving students out using political powers and his failure to ensure student security.
>> BUET administration must pay for the expenses for the legal battle and compensate Abrar’s family.
The body of Abrar, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or BUET, was found on the staircase of his hall if residence in the early hours of Monday.
He was called up from his room at 7:30pm on Sunday, said police, quoting the students of the hall.An autopsy at Dhaka Medical College Hospital subsequently revealed that Abrar was bludgeoned with blunt objects.
There were numerous injury marks on his hands, feet and back, a doctor said, adding the student died due to internal bleeding.
His death has triggered protests on the BUET and Dhaka University campuses.
His classmates claimed that Bangladesh Chhatra League men beat him to death suspecting his involvement with Islami Chhatra Shibir.
BCL’s central committee expelled 11 leaders and activists of its BUET unit over the incident.
Footage captured by a closed-circuit camera installed on the residential hall’s second floor showed a few people dragging Abrar down the corridor by his hands and feet.The individuals caught on camera were all junior leaders and activists of the hall’s BCL unit, according to some students.
Police have arrested and remanded for five days 10 BCL leaders of the BUET unit. The case shifted to Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Detective Branch and three more out of the 19 accused in the case were arrested on Tuesday.