At least 10 students of Dhaka University fell sick on the second day of their fast unto death on Friday afternoon demanding deferment of the polls to the two Dhaka city corporations slated for January 30.
The students were identified as – Utpal Biswas, vice-president (VP) of Jagannath Hall Students’ Union; Kajal Das, general secretary; Prodip Das, social welfare secretary; Apurba Chakrabarty of Theatre and Performance Studies Department; Arko Saha, Bhabdesh Chandra Ray and Jayonta Banik of Soil and Environment Science Department; Sabuj Kumar of Tourism and Hospitality Management Department; Sukesh Debnath of Pali and Buddhist Studies department; Rabiul Awal Robi of Islamic History and Culture Department.
Among them, Apurba and Orko, residents of Jagannath Hall of the university, were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) as their condition had deteriorated during the strike.
Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof M Akhtaruzzman and Ducsu General Secretary Golam Rabbani have expressed solidarity with the students around 5pm.
VC Akhtaruzzaman said the students’ demand was logical.
“I urge the Election Commission (EC) to defer the voting date considering the Saraswati Puja,” he said.
Around 40 students of the university went on hunger strike on the campus on Thursday afternoon demanding deferment of the polls.
The students, led by Utpal Biswas and Kajal Das, gathered in front of Raju Sculpture carrying placards and started the hunger strike around 2:10pm.
The EC announced the polls date on December 22 last year. The day coincides with the Saraswati Puja. The announcement was met with criticism and protests.
Jatiya Oikyafront convener Dr Kamal Hossain on Thursday said holding polls on the day of Saraswati Puja is an unjust act.
In Hinduism, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and learning, and the Puja is held at educational institutions.
Polling stations will be set up at different educational institutions in the city during the polls, which, many fear will hamper the Saraswati Puja celebrations.