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Dipu Moni in Sylhet to diffuse SUST crisis

A three-member ministerial team, led by Education Minister Dipu Moni, arrived in Sylhet Friday morning to hold talks with the protesting students of the coveted Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

The SUST students resumed their protests Wednesday, after their demand for the removal of Vice-Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed was not met.

Apart from Dipu Moni, Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel and Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed are part of the team, that’s slated to hold meetings with the students, teachers and different SUST organisations between 4pm and 7pm.

Their aim is to diffuse the ongoing crisis on the university campus, UNB has learnt. The three ministers will depart for capital Dhaka on a late-night domestic flight.

SUST students brought out a procession on the campus Thursday morning and marked with red handprints the place where police “attacked” them in front of IICT building on January 16, said Shahria Abedin, a student.

They also called for the immediate reactivation of over 250 mobile banking accounts of students and withdrawal of the two cases filed by the police against the protesters.

The protests began in the middle of January. And over two dozen SUST students who went on fast unto death ended their strike on January 26. They broke the fast after former SUST Prof Md Zafar Iqbal offered them water to drink.

The students embarked on the hunger strike on the university campus on January 19, demanding the resignation of the V-C over the police crackdown on their fellows.

The strike was launched after police swooped on the protesting students, charging batons and firing sound grenades and shotgun bullets. On the other hand, the police had filed a case against 300 unnamed protesting students.

The alleged attack was carried out to free the V-C from confinement in the university’s IICT building, and it had left 40 people hurt, including teachers, students and cops.

Zafrin Ahmed, a provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, was at the centre of the initial unrest as she allegedly misbehaved with some students on January 13 when they met her with some complaints.

She later resigned from her post, citing health issues.