BUET Pro-VC to resign, decision on VC later
Steps taken as edn minister holds crisis management meetingMohiuddin Alamgir and Muhibub Zaman
Pro-vice-chancellor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Habibur Rahman will be removed and cases filed against BUET teachers and students withdrawn as steps to resolve the protracted crisis in the university.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid announced the decision to reporters at 1:15am Tuesday after two hours of crisis management meeting with an 11-member delegation of teachers led by BUET Teachers’ Association president Mujibur Rahman and general secretary Ashraful Islam.
Asked whether vice-hancellor SM Nazrul Islam would resign, Nahid said necessary steps would be taken about him after discussions.
The education minister said other irregularities in the university would also be looked into and settled through discussions.
He said academic activities at BUET would resume today.
Mujibur Rahman said, ‘We have been assured by the minister’s decision and normal activities will be restored and academic activities will begin soon.’
Asked whether the classes would resume today, he said they would sit with the teachers and students, apprise them of the outcome of the meeting and normal activities of the university would be restored.
The meeting began at Nahid’s official residence at 11:10pm and continued till 1:15am Tuesday.
The minister held the crisis management meeting amid continuous agitations of students demanding removal of the vice-chancellor and pro-vice-chancellor, a demand initially made by the teachers.
Earlier at about 7:30pm, Nahid had told New Age that the crisis in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology would be over very soon ‘We have been trying our best for the last few days to resolve the ongoing crisis at BUET’.
‘We hope the crisis will be over very soon,’ Nahid had added.
Asked whether the cases filed against the students and teachers would be withdrawn, he had said that no issues would be ignored if the crisis was to be resolved.
The meeting was held following an unusual expression of protest, in which the BUET students on Monday collected their own blood by syringe and splashed it on the stairs of the registrar building, on the third day of their agitation demanding removal of the vice-chancellor and the pro-vice-chancellor.
Students rallying for removal of vice-chancellor SM Nazrul Islam and pro-vice-chancellor Habibur Rahman, postponed their programmes till 11:00am Tuesday after processions, sit-in, writing slogans on the road and blockade.
At about 12:15pm the students gathered in front of the civil engineering building of the university and lined up and took out their blood by syringe and put it in two bottles. After rallying on the campus at about 1:00pm, they went to the registrar’s building and splashed the collected blood on the stairs of the vice-chancellor’s office.
Students termed the programme 'symbolic bloodshed'.
Before kicking off the programme, chemical engineering student Ahsanul Kabir Sumon said that the vice-chancellor's stance had not changed despite the students’ peaceful demonstrations.
‘We have come to know that he [Nazrul] had quit the post of the vice- chancellor of Khulna University after blood was shed there. Do you want our blood, too? If you do, you do not need to send in your cadres or riot police. We are giving you blood. Please leave the BUET,’ Ahsanul said.
In the evening, the students said that if the two top BUET officials did not resign by the Tuesday deadline, they would not leave the vice-chancellor’s office and wage a tougher movement to push for their removal.
‘We are postponing today's agitation on an assurance from the education secretary that no BUET students and teachers would be harassed in connection with the cases filed against them and a procedure of withdrawal of the cases would start soon’, said Sudipto Saha, a student of mechanical engineering department.
‘The education secretary also assured us that steps would be taken very soon to end the stalemate at the BUET,’ he said at about 3:00pm, after the protest that stared midday Sunday.
A procession of the students went to Plassey crossing at around 1:15pm and staged demonstrations until they postponed their protest for the day. Students also wrote slogans on the road and enforced a blockade. Many teachers, in black T-shirts inscribed with text reading ‘Save BUET, remove VC and Pro-VC’ joined the protests.
Students demanded immediate withdrawal of the cases, terming them ‘false, and fabricated’.
BUET security officer Golam Kuddus Khan filed two cases with Shahbagh police station on Sunday night accusing 100 students and teachers of attacking the offices of the vice-chancellor and pro vice-chancellor, ransacking records and looting Tk 3 lakh.
The first case accuses 20 teachers and five students of attacking the office of the vice-chancellor, vandalism, looting Tk 3 lakh and ransacking records.
The second case named 19 teachers and five students and 50 unnamed 'miscreants' accusing them of attacking the office of the pro vice-chancellor, vandalism and ransacking records.
BUET Teachers' Association general secretary Ashraful Islam at a press briefing in the civil engineering department building in the afternoon demanded immediate withdrawal of the cases, terming them ‘false’.
He said a chaotic situation had been created on the campus and only the vice-chancellor and pro vice-chancellor were to blame.
Ashraful Islam said that the teachers were attending the protests individually and not under the banner of the organisation. There is a High Court injunction against the teachers organising movement.
Large contingents of police were deployed at various points of the BUET campus, including in front of the administrative building and the vice-chancellor’s residence. Police's Ramna zone assistant commissioner Shiblee Noman told New Age that reinforcements were dispatched to ensure security on the campus.
Police barred students from using PA system on the day.
No classes and academic activities have been held in the university for 10 consecutive days as the teachers abstained from taking classes without announcement after the reopening of the institution.
The vice-chancellor on July 10 closed the university for 44 days from July 11, triggering agitations by teachers for removal of Nazrul and Habibur. Students and employees later joined the protest.
The High Court on July 31 ordered an injunction against demonstrations of teachers on the campus and since then the teachers, however, had not announced any fresh programmes.
The university authorities last week issued a notice to all deans, department heads, teachers and officials concerned asking them to resume classes and to immediately begin the admission process.
Meanwhile, leaders of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, at a press statement condemned the cases filed against BUET teachers and students.
Jatiya Mukti Council, Naya Ganatantrik Ganamorcha, Jatiya Ganatantrik Ganamnacha and Jatiya Ganafront in a joint statement called for an expeditious settlement of the BUET crisis and condemned the cases filed against its teachers and students.
Sachetan Sthapati Samaj leaders in a statement urged the BUET vice- chancellor and pro vice-chancellor to step down immediately.
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