The Election Commission is likely to change the date of elections to two Dhaka city corporations as it sat in an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon.
Amid widespread criticisms and movement by a group of Dhaka University student, the Commission’s started the meeting at 4pm at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair.
Different quarters, including the Hindu community, have been demanding the deferment of the elections to the Dhaka north and south city corporations slated for January 30 that coincide with Saraswati Puja.
Even major mayoral candidates also urged the EC to reschedule the election so that the Hindu community can smoothly celebrate the Saraswati Puja.
Meanwhile, Dhaka University students continued their fast unto death programme for the third consecutive day on Saturday demanding deferment of the polls to the two Dhaka city corporations slated for January 30.
A group of DU students, led by Vice-President of Jagannath Hall Students’ Union Utpal Biswas and General Secretary Kajal Das, went on hunger strike on the campus on Thursday afternoon demanding deferment of the polls that coincide with Saraswati Puja.
Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad general secretary Advocate Rana Dasgupta warned that they will resist the elections on January 30 as those coincide with Saraswati Puja.
The Election Commission (EC) announced the date on December 22 last year.
Besides, an appeal was filed on Thursday with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order that turned down a writ petition seeking deferment of the January-30 elections as it coincides with Saraswati Puja of the Hindu Community.
The Supreme Court chamber judge is likely to hold a hearing on the appeal on Sunday next.
Thirty-one organisations of minority communities on Saturday declared that they will go on a weeklong countrywide protest from Monday demanding deferment of polls to two Dhaka city corporations slated for January 30 that coincide with Saraswati Puja.
The organisations, including Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad,announced the programme at a press conference at Paltan in the city, said a media release.
During the period, they will stage demonstrations, form human chains, observe hunger strike and blockade across the country for two hours on Monday, and will continue various programmes till January 27.
On January 24, they will hold daylong mass sit-in programme.
Prof Dr Neem Chandra Bhowmick, who presided over the meeting, said they will announce fresh programmes on January 28 if the Election Commission does not defer the polls, the release said.
Meanwhile, about 40students of Dhaka University went on fast unto death demanding deferment of the polls to the two Dhaka city corporations slated for January 30.
DU VC and threeother teachers expressed solidarity with the protesting students.
Three teachers of Dhaka University (DU) on Saturday expressed solidarity with the students who have been observing fast unto death since Thursday, demanding deferment of polls to the two Dhaka city corporations slated for January 30.
The teachers are Gobinda Mandal of Law department, Nepal Chandra Roy of Mathematics Department and Dr Mukul Kumar Baroi of Sculpture Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Meanwhile, Dhaka University Journalists Association (DUJA) General Secretary Imran Hossain and Bijoy Ekattor Hall student Union also expressed solidarity with the students.
Bijoy Ekattor hall Union vice president Sajib Ur Rahman and general secretary Nazmul Hassan Nishan along with the other members expressed solidarity with the students around 2.30pm.
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof M Akhtaruzzaman and DU Teachers Association (Duta) President ASM Maksud Kamal also expressed solidarity with the protesters on Friday and urged the Election Commission to hold the polls on a different date.
Five protesting students fell sick on Saturday while ten others on Friday.