Highway blocked protesting police firing on students; 15 vehicles vandalised
Authorities have shut Jahangirnagar University till August 25 as the campus burst into violence over Wednesday night’s police firing on students.
Through an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon, the JU Syndicate announced the closure, asking male students to vacate their dormitories by 6:00pm on the day and female students by 9:00am today.
A committee led by Pro-VC Prof Farhad Hossain was formed to investigate the situation and submit a report within 21 days.
The academic activities and dean elections scheduled for yesterday were also suspended.
The University Grants Commission has expressed deep concern over instabilities at different public universities, including JU. The commission yesterday formed a three-member committee to visit the universities.
On Wednesday night, five students were injured in police firing while trying to foil an attempt to arrest one of their fellows.
Protesting the police attack, students put blockades on Dhaka-Aricha highway and vandalised 15 vehicles, creating a 12-km tailback.
A running battle took place between law enforcers and students around noon, leaving at least 25 people, including five journalists and three policemen, injured. However, they withdrew the blockades around 3:45pm.
Students leaving the campus suffered a lot as authorities did not arrange transport to take them outside the campus.
All this began after some unruly youths attacked Tahmidul Islam Likhon, an activist of president-secretary faction of JU unit Chhatra League, on Wednesday.
Likhon, a student of economics department and a resident of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, was rushed to the university’s medical centre from where he was taken to Enam Medical College and Hospital at Savar.
Talking to The Daily Star at the hospital yesterday, Likhon said he used to stay outside the campus during the movement against immediate past VC Prof Shariff Enamul Kabir. He returned to his dormitory on July 7.
A gang of 10-12 youths led by three JU students — Riaz, Liton and Nahid — stabbed him in the back near the gate No 1 around 9:30pm on Wednesday. The trio was backed by Prof Shariff, he added.
Students said the killers of Zubair Ahmed might have made the attack on Likhon as he had organised a human chain on the campus Wednesday noon demanding a trial for the murder.
Zubair, a fourth-year student and a BCL member, succumbed to his injuries on January 9, 13 hours after being brutally beaten up by rival faction activists.
Likhon’s mother Kazi Johra Begum filed a case with Savar Police Station around 12:30pm yesterday against 10 named, including Riaz, Liton and Nahid, and 20 unnamed persons.
Protesting the attack on Likhon, students brought out procession on the campus around 11:00pm Wednesday.
Later at night, police entered Mir Mosharraf Hossain Hall and tried to arrest Nahid, a third year student of anthropology department.
Police shot blank fire when other students resisted them from arresting Nahid. At one stage, they shot rubber bullets and shotgun shells on the injuring at least five.
The wounded — Rakib of pharmacy department, Bashir of statistics, Maruf of information technology, Robin of mathematics and Nahid of finance and banking department — were taken to Enam Medical College and Hospital.
Rakib, Robin and Maruf were at the hospital as of last night; the rest were released after treatment.
Students took to the streets soon after Wednesday midnight and put barricades on the highway, demanding resignation of JU proctor, his assistants and Mir Mosharraf Hossain Hall provost, and punitive action against police personnel responsible for the firing.
They claimed police entered the campus on instruction of the university authorities.
As the VC rushed to the spot and tried in vain to calm the agitators, the angry students vandalised his vehicle and another carrying the proctorial body.
Around 6:00am yesterday, Proctor Tapan Kumar Saha, Pro-VC Farhad Hossain and Treasurer Nasiruddin talked to the students but they refused to withdraw the barricades.
Students also questioned the attempt to arrest Nahid without filing of a case.
VC Prof Anwar Hossain told The Daily Star that police were present during the incident and they could identify the attackers. Also, Likhon mentioned names of the attackers, he said.
“I told police to take punitive action against whoever the culprits are, but I could not imagine they will open fire on students.”
He said a judicial committee should be formed to find why the university is becoming instable frequently and at whose instigation.
Pro-VC Farhad told The Daily Star that they did not call the police and there was no question of directing them to fire.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Savar Police Station, said they went to arrest Nahid following the directive of university authorities and “We had to open fire to protect ourselves.”
Courtesy of The Daily Star