CU shut after 8 days of clashes

August 3, 2010

70 injured in student-cop clashes during protests against fee hike

The authorities yesterday closed the Chittagong University till September 16 following a series of violent clashes between agitating students and police that left over 50 students and 20 policemen injured.

Police detained around 50 students during clashes in the morning and held 200 more after raiding three male dormitories in the afternoon.

The CU syndicate in an hour-long meeting that started around 3:00pm took the decision of closing the university in the wake of the violent situation, said CU Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Abu Yusuf.

Male students were asked to vacate their dormitories by 6:00pm yesterday and female students by 10:00am today, he said.

A three-member committee headed by Law Faculty Dean Prof Zakir Hossain was also formed to probe yesterday’s violence, the VC said.

Earlier in the morning, over 1,500 students brought out a procession from Chittagong University Central Students’ Union (CUCSU) building around 10.00am to continue their protest for the eighth consecutive day to press home their three-point demand including cancellation of fee-hike.

As police intercepted the procession near Arts Faculty the agitating students were locked in a clash with them.

At least 15 students, including a journalist were injured as police charged batons on the demonstrating students. The journalist identified as Rajib Nandi, university correspondent of the daily Kaler Kantho, was wounded during the police raid.

The aggrieved students in different groups then went on the rampage at CUCSU building and different faculty buildings protesting the police attack.

They, however, blamed a section of students for the vandalism.

Tobarak Hossain, a student, said, “Some students started vandalism all of a sudden ignoring our request.”

Samajtantrik Chhatra Front CU unit president Probal Mazumder said they requested the students not to involve in vandalism but they ignored the request.

The clash took a violent turn when police lobbed tear shells and fired rubber bullets on them near Arts Faculty around 11:00pm prompting the students to retaliate with stones and brickbats.

Police hurled tear shells and fired rubber bullets to disperse another group of agitating students near Shaheed Minar around 12:00 noon.

The law enforcers also fired rubber bullets and teargas shells inside Shamsunnahar Hall where the students took shelter as police went on a counter offensive.

Protesting the police attack, around 1,000 female students from Shamsunnahar and Pritilata Halls brought out a procession around 1:30pm. As the procession reached near Shaheed Minar, police charged batons to disperse them injuring around 50 female students.

Prosenjit, another student, claimed that at least 200 students were injured in yesterday’s series of clashes and many of them were rubber bullet-hit.

The situation came under control at about 3:00pm as the students started leaving the campus.

Officer-in-Charge Mohiuddin Selim of Hathazari Police Station said around 250 rounds of rubber bullets were fired and over 60 tear-gas canisters were lobbed to bring the situation under control.

At least 20 policemen including him and ASP of Hathazari circle Babul Akhter were injured by stones thrown at them, the OC said adding that they detained around 50 students from different spots of the campus during the clash.

Police raided Shahjalal Hall, Shah Amanat Hall and Suhrawardi Hall around 4:00pm and picked over 200 students from there, he added.

The decision of fee hike was proposed at the 298th meeting of the university finance committee, which was later approved at the 459th syndicate meeting on May 22 this year.

According to the syndicate decision, the increased fees were made effective from July 1 this year.

Admission fees in the first year were increased to Tk 4,100 from Tk 3,420 for Science Faculty and Tk 3,200 from Tk 3,030 for the Arts, Commerce, Social Science and Law Faculties, according to the sources in CU.

Tuition fees for second, third and fourth year non-resident students were increased to Tk 2,230 from Tk 1,327 for Science Faculty (except Mathematics Department) and Tk 2,170 from Tk 1,327 for other faculties while for Masters classes Tk 3,115 from Tk 2,186 for science faculty and Tk 2,655 from Tk 1,796 for other faculties.

Tuition fees for second, third and fourth year resident students were increased to Tk 2,740 from Tk 1,911 for Science Faculty (except Mathematics Department) and Tk 2,680 from Tk 1,851 for other faculties.

Meanwhile, fees for improvement examination were increased to highest Tk 600 from highest Tk 180.

The students claimed that the departments are realising more money from them without giving any receipt.

Asked, Vice Chancellor Prof Yusuf said the departments collect money for different purposes like excursion, and those are not included in tuition fees.

The hiked fees are in no way beyond the affordability of the students, he claimed.

“We increased the fees for improvement examination in order to make the students class and examination-bound,” he added.

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