Dhaka, Bangladesh
No end until reelection call

No end until reelection call

Hunger strikers say, VP at one with them

News Desk Newly elected VP Nurul Haque Nur has expressed solidarity with the students who went on hunger strike demanding fresh DUCSU polls. "The students of Dhaka University protested against injustice. I morally supported them," he said on Thursday after visiting the students who continued their hunger strike for the third straight day at the entrance of Ruqayyah Hall. "I have an organisation. They worked with me for a long time and spent time and energy. The general students worked for me. I spoke to them and was trying to understand what they were asking for," he said. "If they want me to fight for them as the VP, I will do it. If they do not want, I will not take over my charge." A group of four Dhaka University students began the hunger strike at the altar of the Raju Sculpture on Tuesday, demanding fresh polls after the resignation of those who oversaw the Mar 11 elections. Two others joined them later. They are Shoeb Mahmud, a student of physics, Mainuddin from the Population Science Department, Tawhid Tanjim, a student of computer science and engineering, Anindo Mondol from the philosophy department, and Rafia Tamanna who studies mass communication and journalism. Anindo fell ill and was hospitalised while Meer Arafat Manab, a leftist panel candidate for the international secretary post, and independent candidate Rabiul Islam who vied for the social work secretary post joined them on Wednesday. "We will continue the hunger strike as long as we are capable physically. The university authority has not contacted us as yet. They haven't even visited Anindo in the hospital," said Rafia Tamanna, one of the students on hunger strike. Nur, also the leader of Bangladesh Council to Protect General Students' Rights, demanded resignation of Ruqayyah Hall Provost Zeenat Huda. "She threatened us. She does not have any right to retain her post. She must step down as she has been accused of irregularities." The VP vowed to continue protests against 'irregularities and rigging' in the election. On Wednesday, Nur demanded fresh DUCSU polls by Mar 31 and leaders of panels who boycotted the Mar 11 election also warned the DU authorities that they must announce a schedule of fresh polls within three days. They will go for tougher protests unless their demands are met by Saturday, the demonstrators said. DU Vice Chancellor Professor Akhtaruzzaman rejected their demands and said he has no jurisdiction to show 'disrespect' towards the DUCSU polls, which was the result of the "tireless efforts by all". Another group of five students have been on a hunger strike at the entrance of Ruqayyah Hall demanding re-election to the hall union. They are Rafia Sultana from Islamic Studies Department, Sayeda Afrin and Jayanti Reza from the Women and Gender Studies Department, Shrabona Shafik Dipti from the Disaster Management Department and Promi Khisha from the Management Information Department. Rafia was the Bangladesh Council to Protect General Students' Rights candidate for the VP post of the hall council and Dipti was a contestant for the DUCSU liberation war affairs secretary post from the independent panel. Chhatra Federation member Sayeda and Promi Khisha contested for member posts. They also demanded security of the protesters and withdrawal of a case against 40 people, including seven contestants, on charges of vandalism and attacking Ruqayyah Hall Provost Zeenat.

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