Sunday, August 24, 2008
Dhaka University Observed Black Day
New Age reports on August 24, 2008, Teachers and students at Dhaka University on Saturday rallied for withdrawal of all cases filed against them in connection with the August 2007 campus protests. They also wore black badges observing August 23 as ‘black day’ against state repression on the campus.
Students at the university held protests on August 20, 2007 when some military personnel attacked them over an altercation during a football match in the university playground. The protests continued till August 22 and the government closed all public universities and colleges on August 23 for an indefinite period.
The state filed six cases against teachers and students of Dhaka University and common people, but later decided not to continue with five of them. The government at the time decided to continue with the case against seven of the 25 accused in the case of setting fire to the military vehicle.
The students accused in the case of setting fire to a military vehicle held a solidarity rally at the Aparajeya Bangla were all campus student organisations, including Bangladesh Chhatra League, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, and Bangladesh Chhatra Federation, expressed their solidarity and demanded withdrawal of the case.
A number of teachers including the university teachers’ association general secretary Anwar Hossain, former association president AAMS Arefin Siddique, and association’s executive committee member Muhammad Samad expressed solidarity with the students.
Anwar said the August 2007 protests were the outburst of the sentiment of all students at the university, but a few students are suffering now because of the movement.
He suggested the military intelligence should not consider the university students to be their opponents. ‘We do not consider them our opponents.’ ‘If the government does not withdraw the case, the teachers and students will make the government to withdraw it as they did in the past,’ he said.
‘It is a constitutional right for every citizen to live without fear. So our students also have the right to continue their education without fear,’ Arefin Siddique said at the rally. He asked the university authorities to ensure legal and financial support for the students.
The Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal president, Azizul Bari Helal, Chhatra League president Mahmud Hasan Ripon, Chhatra Union general secretary Manabendra Dev, university unit Samajtantrik Chhara Front general secretary Moloy Sarkar, and university unit Bangladesh Chhatra Federation general secretary Saikat Mallik joined the rally.
The Progressive Students’ Alliance and the Samajtantrik Chhatra Front also brought out processions on the campus marking the day. The teachers association held a discussion at the Teacher-Student Centre in the afternoon. 'We are observing the day as a ‘black day’ in a mark of protest,’ said the association’s president Sadrul Amin.