Watch: Despite authorities’ assurance, students continue protest for safer roads

Watch: Despite authorities’ assurance, students continue protest for safer roads

  •  Dhaka Tribune March 20th, 2019
web-BUP-student-road-accident-protest'-Mehedi hasan/dhaka tribune

Protesting students shout slogans demanding justice for Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury at Basundhara in Dhaka on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Protesting students are shouting slogans, demanding justice for Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury

Despite assurance of fulfilling demands from authorities, students from a number of private universities remain on the streets of Dhaka, continuing their protest demanding safe roads.

While talking to the protestors, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam and Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner (DMP) Asaduzzaman Mia assured the students of meeting their demands of safer roads, and urged them to halt the ongoing movement.

The Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) Honourable Vice-Chancellor (VC) Major General Bari also urged demonstrating students to call off their protest.

However, the students said they will only call off their protest when the demands are met.

Protest movement is ongoing in major parts of the capital, including in Basundhara residential area, Shahbag, Dhanmondi, Farmgate, Notun Bazar, Rampura, Gazipur and Mawa.

In Basundhara residential area, protesting students shouted slogans, demanding justice for Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury—an honours first-year student of BUP’s International Relations Department—who was run over and killed on the spot by a Suprovat Paribahan bus. He was hit while crossing the road, using a zebra crossing, in front of Jamuna Future Park, at Kuril, around 7:15am on Tuesday.

Students of Viqarunnisa Noon School & College, and Siddheswari Degree College, have expressed their solidarity with the protesting students.

Demonstrators from Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) along with several other universities block off roads in Basundhara area of Dhaka on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 |Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

One of the protesters, Dr Mostafizur Rahman, Assistant Professor, Disaster and Human Security Management of BUP, told the Dhaka Tribune: “It is difficult for us to accept Abrar’s death. He was our first-year student. This is murder.

“I have been here since 8am in the morning. The university authority wants to ensure students’ safety and security. Usually with this kind of protest, some people misuse or politicize it for their own benefit. At that moment, we need to ensure nothing goes wrong with our students.”

In Mahakhali,  Students of BRAC University express their solidarity with the protesting students demanding safe roads. they gathered in front of the university building and formed human chain with several placards.

In Shahbagh, students initially gathered under the Raju Memorial Sculpture, then moved to block off the intersection, chanting slogans, around 11:45am.

Their protest has been peaceful till the filing of this report, and the demonstrators are allowing emergency services vehicles to pass through the blockade.

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In Dhanmondi 27, students from Daffodil University partially blocked off the road demanding safer roads, and justice for Abrar. They were seen allowing emergency vehicles such as ambulances to pass through, along with some other vehicles.

The protesters were heard shouting “We want justice,” and placed demands to ensure road safety, in tune with the other protesters across Dhaka.

In Farmgate, private university students had also blocked off the intersection in the morning, but they dispersed peacefully around 11am, Tejgaon police station OC Mazhar Hossain confirmed the Dhaka Tribune.

A protester with a sign on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, after a BUP student’s death in a road accident |Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneMassive protest

Abrar’s death has sparked a massive protest by the students of his university. BUP students have since been joined by students of other educational institutions.

Although police impounded the bus and arrested its driver, the students later blockaded the busy road and demonstrated, throughout Tuesday, demanding justice for Abrar and capital punishment for those responsible for the death.

They also pressed home their eight-point demand for road safety to be ensured, and called for classes to be boycotted in all educational institutions across the country on Wednesday.

Protests broke out in Dhaka—and across the country in July last year—demanding safe roads and justice, after two students died in a road accident on Dhaka’s Airport Road.

Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College students Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib were killed—and several others were injured—when a bus of Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan ploughed into a group of students on July 29, 2018.


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