After 163 hours (about 7 days), 28 students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) broke their hunger strike. The students drank water to break their fast at the request of Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, a former teacher of the university, at around 10am on Wednesday (26 January). Earlier in the day, the renowned writer and his wife Professor Yasmin Haque was also present with him at the time.
A total of 28 students were on hunger strike demanding the resignation of VC Professor Farid 20 hunger strikers were admitted to the hospital.
Around 10 am, 20 hospitalized students were brought in front of the VC’s house on hunger strike. The students broke their hunger strike there. Earlier, Dr. Zafar Iqbal came to the campus at 4 in the morning. “I did not want to come here,” said Zafar Iqbal. “If you have not listened to us? Since I have come to break your fast then I will leave here. I want you to continue the movement. But movement and hunger are different things. You break the fast and continue the movement.”
In front of the journalists, Zafar Iqbal said, “Today we discussed with a high-level delegation. They came home. They have promised that whatever you ask for will be fulfilled. After discussing with them we did not delay, we came straight here. You have shaken the whole country.”
After hearing the complaints of the students, Zafar Iqbal sharply criticized the administration of SUST VC Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed. Mentioning that the movement of SUST students has stirred the whole country at that time, Zafar Iqbal said, “You have made history. The message that has gone through you will have to be considered at least once before appointing VCs in different universities in the future. You have all the youth of the country with you.”
Addressing the students, Zafar Iqbal further said, “34 VCs have lost their sleep due to your movement. They also wanted to resign if this VC resigned. I would like to see the resignation of 34 VCs. You have stirred up universities all over Bangladesh.”
He said, “I assumed, there is a medical team here on hunger strike. They are taking care all the time. But when I came here, I saw that there was no doctor. There were doctors, but they were frightened away. I will tell you these facts. When the condition of the hunger strikers here is so bad, then what is the condition of 20 sick people! I’m scared. This is utter inhumanity.”
Incidentally, the students have been protesting in front of the VC’s residence since January 17 demanding his resignation. 24 students started a hunger strike at the same place as last Wednesday. Some of them became seriously ill and were admitted to the hospital. VC Farid Uddin Ahmed has been under siege since January 17 as students took a position in front of the residence.