There is some guarded hope for a resolution to the crisis at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), after agitating students seemed prepared to sit for discussions with Education Minister Dipu Moni over an online platform like Zoom. This was after the education minister urged the protesting students once again to sit with her for talks to resolve the current standoff, moving away from their hunger strike.
â€śStudents can hold a discussion with us even during the hunger strike if they wish as it is the only way to reach a solution,â€ť the minister said after holding a meeting with a delegation of teachers from SUST at her residence at 6:05pm.
She went on saying, â€śDue to some family obligations, Iâ€™m unable to go to Sylhet at the moment but the door is always open for the students for discussions. A delegation team from the ministry will go to SUST if they want.â€ť
She also said the police action on the students was really unfortunate. â€śWe never expect this type of incidentâ€ť.
Later, in response to the ministerâ€™s call, the students said they want to sit for discussions with her on an online platform. â€śIf she canâ€™t come to Sylhet, weâ€™re ready to have discussions.â€ť
Earlier in the day, the students brought out a symbolic coffin procession on the campus.Â Around 8pm, they lit candles at Golchattar as part of their protests.
Meanwhile, 17 of the 24 students â€“ already on hunger strike since Wednesday afternoon â€“ were hospitalised.
On Friday, Education Minister Dipu Moni talked to the students and said she wanted a solution to the crisis as soon as possible.
On Monday, the students wrote an open letter to President Abdul Hamid, chancellor of the university, demanding the immediate removal of VC Farid Uddin Ahmed.
The students also turned down the notice of shutting down the university for an indefinite period and the directive to leave their dormitories.
Currently, the students are staying on the campus.
SUST was supposed to shut down following a clash on the campus between police and the protesting students on January 16. The students were asked to leave the dormitories by 12pm the next day.