Dhaka, Sep 4 (bdnews24.com)—The decision to remove only Pro-Vice Chancellor Habibur Rahman has failed to placate the demonstrating students of BUET, who on Tuesday urged the government to remove Vice-Chancellor S M Nazrul Islam as well.
At a press meet in the afternoon at the campus they renewed their demand to withdraw the VC. Chemical Engineering Department student Merina Jahan read out a written statement.
"Our one and only demand is removal of the VC and the Pro-VC. We won't return to classes until our demands are met (fully)," she said.
"We believe we are not safe on the campus where there are people who have implicated us in false cases," she said.
The student said these people did not care even when they saw the blood of the students spilled on the campus.
She urged Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid to come to the BUET campus.
"Please come here. Listen to us. Take the decision after understanding our emotions and the reality."
BUET's Computer Science department Professor Humayun Kabir was also present at the press conference.
He said Education Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser told the teachers that he would pay a visit to the campus on Wednesday. "Minister Nahid may also come."
The university's Teachers' Association leaders sat with the students earlier in the day after the Education Minister assured the teachers at a meeting on Monday midnight of removing the Pro-VC and dropping the two cases against the agitating students and teachers.
The 'assured' teachers on Tuesday morning informed the students about the whole situation and the minister's assurance leading them to decide to return to classes 'very soon'.
Asked whether teachers would continue their protest along with the students, Prof Kabir told journalists, "We all demand the removal of the VC and Pro-VC. We are continuing discussions to have that demand met anyhow."
Earlier in the day, after the meeting with the teachers, agitating students' representative mechanical engineering student Sudipta Saha told reporters, "We are not assured by the minister's words, even though the teachers are. We want the VC to leave too."
Teachers' Association General Secretary Professor Ashraful Islam, before the meeting, had told bdnews24.com: "We have decided ethically to return to classes. But some preparations are needed to be made for that to happen."
"New academic calendar has to be prepared as the university has been closed for a long time. It'll take two or three days," he said.
BUET teachers began their demonstration in April accusing the VC and Pro-VC of different irregularities in the administration. The students also joined their cause eventually.
In the wake of joint movement, the BUET authorities had advanced the Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr vacation by a month to close it on July 10 until Aug 24. The decision, however, failed to deter the protesters from going ahead with the movement.
The university activities resumed on Aug 25 but classes and exams did not take place as the teachers and students continued with their protest.
Education Minister Nahid met the teachers' association leaders on Monday midnight at his official residence and asked them to return to the regular curricular activities.
He and Association President Prof Mojibur Rahman around 1am on Tuesday told reporters about the decisions of their meeting.
The minister told reporters, "We will withdraw the Pro-VC. The cases will be dropped as well very soon."
Nahid also assured them of taking steps against all irregularities plaguing the top engineering university in the country and hoped that all teachers will now resume regular academic activities.
But the meeting failed to agree on the removal of VC SM Nazrul Islam which would have made the agitating students and teachers to call their demonstrations off.
Prof Mojibur Rahman told reporters in front of Nahid's Minto Road residence, "The cases will be withdrawn. (The minister) said, 'Consider the charges dropped.' We are also assuming that is the case. The Pro-VC will be removed. Necessary steps on other matters will also be taken. We are assured of these."
However, BUET VC Nazrul Islam on Tuesday afternoon told bdnews24.com: "I have ordered withdrawal of the cases following the decision taken at the meeting between the BUET Teachers' Association and the Education Minister."
The BUET authorities had filed two cases with the Shahbagh police around Sunday midnight accusing around a hundred teachers and students of attacking the offices of the VC and Pro-VC, vandalism, ransacking records and looting Tk 300,000.