Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dhaka University Erupts

Picture: Daily Star
Yes, Dhaka University Students have been beaten up by the Army personnel while they're watching soccer game in the University gymnasium. Now, students are demanding immediate removal of army camp from the University Campus. During the fight, army had videotaped students!!! History shows no military government has ever won against students protest. It will be a smart move for the Army to move out from the University campus and make it off limit for the military personnel. Interestingly, the news channels are not elaborating the incident as it provided little coverage. Daily Star reports on August 20, 2007:
Thousands of students at Dhaka University (DU) fought running battles with police last night demanding the removal of an army base from the campus and an apology from the army for the beating up of three students earlier in the afternoon.

More than 50 students and several police were injured in the confrontations in which police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters as well as using water cannon and repeated baton charges. Students pelted the police with stones and bricks.

Of the injured, at least 25 students received treatment from Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

Students protesting police and army brutality called an indefinite student strike at DU starting today.

The initial cause of the demonstrations was an incident at around 3.30 pm when army personnel mercilessly beat three DU students and humiliated a teacher over a petty dispute concerning comments passed by spectators watching a soccer match at the university's gymnasium ground where an army camp is situated.

The soccer match was between public administration and journalism departments. During a penalty shoot-out Mehedi Mohammad, a student at the public administration department stood up in front of a group of army personnel, obscuring the army members' view.

Army members allegedly abused him verbally and asked him to move before beginning to beat Mehedi and his friends.

Mehedi along with Shafiq and Lucas all MSS students of public administration, and Dipu, a third year student of the same department were taken to DMCH for treatment.

As Mubashsher Munayem, a teacher of public administration tried to stop the incident, army personnel also humiliated him.

In protest students demonstrated against the army action, demanding an apology and the removal of the army camp from the campus. In response police baton charged the students injuring five or six of them.

By early evening news of the events had spread, triggering thousand more students to pour onto the streets in protest

Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof AFM Yusuf Haider, Proctor Prof AKA Firoz Ahmed, assistant proctors and some other teachers rushed to the spot and sat with army and students to reach to a solution.

After the meeting Prof Haider said, “The in-charge of the unit Colonel Huda unconditionally expressed sorrow for the incident on behalf of his force and said they will take action against the responsible army personnel.” However, angry students demanded that the responsible apologize publicly and that the army camp be shifted.

Students were frightened when army took video shots of the demonstrators and they chanted slogans against the army.

The proctor said, “I saw someone was taking video shots from the rooftop, but when I talked to the army, they denied it was them.”

After sometime students went to the campus and took part in a protest procession from the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) to press home their demand. As they approached to the resident of the VC, police charged baton from behind the students, injuring five demonstrators, including one female student.

Students were disbursed, but soon they were reinforced, as hundreds of students came out of different residential dormitories including Bangabandhu Hall, Zia Hall, Surya Sen Hall and Jashimuddin Hall and gathered at Mall Chattar on the campus, adjacent to VC's residence.

At this place, furious students vandalised a police car with some police inside.

Then they marched towards the army camp at the gymnasium and locked in a fierce battle with police. Police charged batons on the students, hurled tear shells and chased them, leaving several demonstrators injured.

In retaliation, students pelted police with brickbats, stones and other such things turning the area into a virtual battleground..

The battle spread from the gym to the TSC, Rokeya Hall, central library, VC's residence, Mall Chattar, Bangabandhu Hall, Zia Hall, Surya Sen Hall and Jashimuddin Hall. Several hundred police took position on the streets, while the demonstrators continued to pelt police with brickbats and stones hiding behind buildings and from rooftop.

Until filing this story, scattered battles between the police and students continued.

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