A section of students, who were staging demonstrations demanding justice to one of their fellows killed in a road crash in Dhaka, has announced to postpone the ongoing agitation till March 28.
A 10-member students’ representatives came up with the announcement after a meeting with Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam this afternoon.
Meanwhile, another section of protesters expressed dissent with the announcement of postponing demonstrations till March 28. They vowed to resume the agitation from next morning saying that they “do not believe in assurances and want to see the implementations of those pledges immediately.”
After the meeting, a student of the 10-member team said they took the decision as the DNCC mayor assured them of meeting their demands.
Their demands include ensuring highest punishment of the arrested driver in the shortest possible time; withdrawing all buses having no fitness certificate, and constructing footbridges, underpasses and speed breakers at all vulnerable points.
Later, addressing a press conference at Bashundhara residential area this evening, the representative team said they have given a 7-day ultimatum to the authorities concerned. They also threatened to resume their demonstration if the authorities do not take steps with the deadline.
Earlier in the afternoon, the students who were agitating in different area of the capital including Shahbagh and Science Lab areas called off their demonstration for today.
"We are calling off today's agitation considering public sufferings, however, we will take position in front of our respective educational institutions tomorrow if the authorities don’t come up with a fruitful solution to the issue by tonight,” Shahriar Hasan, a student of Dhaka University’s Finance department said at Shahbagh minutes before the announcement of the 10-member students’ team.
Shahriar is among the students who were leading today’s demonstration at Shahbagh intersection and the agitating students started to vacate the busy intersection around 3:30pm, our staff correspondent reports from the spot.
Echoing a similar statement, Tahmid Shamim, a student of Mohammadpur Model School and College, also announced to postpone the agitation programme at Science Lab.
The blockaders on the gate of Bashundhara Residential, where the university student was run over by a bus yesterday, was unmoved till last reported.
“We Want Justice”, the slogan that reverberated through the city during the teen movement for improved road safety in August last year, has been resurrected this time also.
Today, blockades were reported at Science Laboratory and Dhanmondi 27 on Mirpur Road. Snarling traffic was seen on Mirpur Road, Dhanmondi and Satmasjid Road, causing a huge suffering to the commuters since this morning.
The students also blockaded Shahbagh and inside Tejgaon Industrial area. Students tried to block Farmgate in the morning hours, but withdrew within a short while.
At Shahbagh and Science Laboratory, students were seen maintaining traffic on roads and checking driving licenses and registration papers of vehicles.
A SECTION NOT YIELDING
Meanwhile, a section of protesters expressed dissent with the announcement of postponing demonstrations till March 28.
They vowed to resume the agitation from next morning saying that they “do not believe in assurances and want to see the implementations of those pledges immediately.”
Talking to The Daily Star, a student leader, wishing not to be named, said apart from their eight-point demand, their one of the main demands is withdrawal of the cases filed against the students during the road safety movement in August last year.
Alleging that police are still harassing the accused and they are facing the ordeal of appearing before courts on regular intervals, he said they did not get involved in the movement (August last year) for any political cause. “We joined the protests for improvement of road safety,” he said.
WHAT AND WHY ARE THEY PROTESTING OVER?
A university student was run over by an unruly bus of ‘Suprabhat Paribahan’ which was reportedly on a mad race.
Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury, himself a road safety campaigner, met this tragic end while Dhaka Metropolitan Police was observing traffic week to bring discipline on the city streets.
Son of Brig Gen (retd) Arif Ahmed Chowdhury, he was a first-year honours student of international relations department at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). He was the elder of two brothers.
Police and fellow students said Abrar was crossing the road through the zebra crossing to catch a bus for his university around 7:30am. He was crushed under the wheels of a bus racing with another, according to witnesses.
The students are demanding capital punishment of the driver responsible for student’s death yesterday, shutting down Jabal-e-Noor and Suprabhat buses, and foot over-bridges near all educational institutions.
CASE FILED OVER STUDENT’S DEATH
Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed with Gulshan Police Station over the student’s death at Progati Sarani that led to the outburst of the students.
Victim’s father Brig Gen (retd) Arif Ahmed Chowdhury filed the case last night, Gulshan Police Station Officer-in-Charge Abu Bakar Siddique told The Daily Star.
The driver of the bus, who has been arrested, has been made the prime accused while his helper, the owner and contracting firm made accused also.
Abrar Ahmed Chowdhury, a road safety campaigner and student of Bangladesh University of Professionals, was run over by a bus at Bashundhara gate yesterday.
Police and fellow students said Abrar was on the zebra crossing when a bus, racing with another, crushed him under its wheels around 7:30am.
AUGUST IN REMINISCENCE
Back in August last year, death of two college students on Airport Road sparked a wave of protests that brought Dhaka reeling to its knees.
The protests, actively participated by students of almost all educational institutions, lasted for more a week and put Bangladesh’s capital on a standstill.
The government was forced to launch special drives and tough crackdowns in an effort to bring discipline on the streets and the transport sector.
Though the effort worked, but only did so for about a month – after which things rolled back on to the same indiscipline what was before.