Bangladesh’s top engineering varsity erupts in protests

Buet students stage sit-in at the administrative building of the university yesterday demanding expulsion of three Chhatra League activists for beating up a senior student. Inset, Tousif Ahmed Eshan.

THREE Buet students and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League were suspended from the institute Sunday for beating up a senior student on Saturday.

The assault on Tousif Ahmed Eshan, student of the computer science and technology department, prompted several hundred students to take to the streets and stage sit-ins.

The authorities of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) Sunday suspended all academic activities until further notice, as the students continued to stage sit-ins inside the administrative building, demanding expulsion of the attackers.

The agitating students were still on the premises till 1:30am. They closed off all the gates except the main entrance to the university campus.

Sujit Saha and Saifullah Shikdar, students of the material and metallurgical department, and Arif Raihan, student of the mechanical engineering department, beat up Tousif Ahmed after they got involved in a scuffle, said agitated students.

His left hand broken, Tousif has been receiving treatment in the capital’s Square Hospital. He also received injures on his leg and other parts of the body, said his classmate Sunayan.

Tousif underwent surgery on his broken hand, he added.

Sunayan said the attackers entered his room at Nazrul Islam Hall and beat him up with sticks at about 1:30pm on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Tousif and several senior students got into a fight with some junior students, including the three, who were trying to occupy some chairs reserved for seniors at a concert at the university auditorium, said sources.

The concert was organised as part of a farewell for the university’s 2006 batch to which Tousif belongs.

The scuffle was the reason behind the assault on Tousif, said the sources.

On Saturday, the protesters confined Buet Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Habibur Rahman and director of the Student Welfare Council Aminul Islam to their offices for hours.

Following the incident, Aminul Islam tendered his resignation to the pro-vice chancellor Sunday evening citing health reasons, said the sources.

Meanwhile, the Buet administration formed a four-member committee to probe the incident. The committee has been asked to submit its report today.

Tanmoy Ahmed, general secretary of Buet unit of the Chhatra League, admitted that the three were Chhatra League activists and often participated in the organisation’s programmes.

Arif claimed that Raihan, one of the three alleged attackers, was not involved in the incident.

Tanmoy said the question of expelling them did not arise, as they were not members of the organisation. They, however, have been asked not to attend any Chhatra League programmes in the future.

Buet VC Prof Nazrul said politics had nothing to do with the incident.

The VC said the university would bear the costs of the victim’s treatment.

The teachers will not take any classes in line with Sunday’s decision, he added.


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