Students’ strike for residential halls cripples Jagannath University
JnU Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2016-08-18 13:21:47.0 BdST Updated: 2016-08-18 13:21:47.0 BdST
Academic and administrative activities have been paralysed at the Jagannath University (JnU) due a strike on the campus by students demanding new residential halls.
Thousands of students abstained from classes and tests on Thursday morning and gathered in the streets in front of the university after locking the main gate.
They are still demonstrating amidst rain after taking over the streets at the Bahadur Shah Park and Judge Court area.
Their protests have led to massive gridlock in areas of Old Dhaka adjacent to the university.
Monirul Islam Rajan, a coordinator for the demonstrators, told bdnews24.com: “We locked the main gate around 8am. No one has entered the university since then. Everyone has joined the movement.”
He claimed 95 percent students had stayed away from classes and exams to take part in the strike.
No department was seen conducting any tests while most of the classrooms were found empty since morning.
JnU Proctor Nur Mohammad told bdnews24.com: “We want the students to carry on their movement peacefully while continuing the classes and sitting for tests. But they are not listening to us.”
The students announced the strike on Thursday from a demonstration in front of the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Established in 2005, the only non-residential university of the country have 11 dormitories in different areas in Old Dhaka.
But all of them had been taken over by influential locals.
As the students’ movement grew bigger in 2009, the government started to take initiative to recover the halls.
But despite recommendations from the land ministry, Dhaka district administration did not take steps to hand over ownership of several halls to the university authorities.
Two of the halls were recovered in 2011 and 2014, but they are yet to be renovated for use.
Another hall is still occupied by a local influential, but there is no plan afoot to get it back.
The authorities have also been planning to build two new halls.
Eight other residential halls of the college-turned-university were shut down following a home ministry order in 1985.
JnU students have been demonstrating since Aug 2 demanding allotment of lands at the prison premises in Old Dhaka to build their new halls.
Authorities have shifted the inmates late last month to the new premises in Keraniganj.
The university authorities had applied to the home secretary for the land in 2014.
JnU Vice-Chancellor Mizanur Rahman said they have also pleaded with the prime minister and other senior officials of the government for that land on Aug 14 in the backdrop of the renewed students’ movement.
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