Students of Gopalganj’s Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (BSMRSTU) are continuing their hunger strike for the fourth day. The sit-in hunger strike began on September 19, with students demanding the resignation of Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Khondoker Md Nasiruddin. The protesting students said they will continue the protest and hunger strike until the vice-chancellor steps down from his post. Commenting on the matter, university’s Registrar Prof Dr Md Nur Uddin Ahmed said: “We are going to talk to the students to withdraw their ongoing hunger strike.” The students have been circulating a mass petition demanding Prof Nasiruddin’s resignation.
Meanwhile, some students from Khulna came to the university campus to announce their solidarity with the ongoing protest. On September 21, at least 20 students were injured during the attacks that took place in front of the Gobra Mosque, Sobhan Road and Sonakur, Gobra and Balurmath areas in the town. The demonstrating students alleged that they came under attack by the supporters of the vice chancellor, on their way to the university from Gopalganj town. However, some of the protesters said the attacks were carried out by outsiders with locally made sharp weapons and wooden sticks.
What sparked the protests?
The students started protesting when the BSMRSTU authorities issued an order to suspend second-year law student Fatema-tuz-Zinia earlier this month. The university, however, lifted the suspension order on September 18.Zinia, also the university correspondent for the Daily Sun newspaper, was suspended for her reportedly objectionable comments about BSMRSTU on Facebook on September 10. An audio recording of an altercation she had with the BSMRSTU VC, in which the VC was reportedly heard verbally abusing Zinia, went viral on social media.
While university authorities claimed her posts tarnished the university’s image, Zinia said she was suspended because of her reports on irregularities and corruption at BSMRSTU.