DU students' march to EC foiled by police

Dhaka University Correspondent
Published : 16:47, Jan 15, 2020 | Updated : 17:03, Jan 15, 2020

Students of Dhaka university barricade Dhaka`s Shahbag intersection demanding rescheduling date for Dhaka city polls on Wednesday (Jan 15, 2020). Photo: Nashirul IslamPolice have foiled a march of a group of Dhaka University students towards the Election Commission (EC) demanding deferment of the polls to the Dhaka city corporations billed for January 30.

As per their scheduled program, the students also tried to march towards EC’s office in Agargaon but were barred by police near the National Museum in Shahbagh.

Then they took position at the intersection and continued their protests till 3 pm.

They also blocked the TSC and Shahbagh intersections for two and a half hours on Wednesday (Jan 15).

Addressing a protest rally, Utpal Das, spokesperson of the protesters, gave directives for demonstrations on Thursday (Jan 16) in front of Raju sculpture and asked all to protest nationwide about holding polls on the day of Saraswati puja.

Utpal, vice president of Jagannath Hall Union and also general secretary of Chhatra League’s hall unit, said that the Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU) leaders -- Md Saddam Hussain and Asif Talukder also backed to their demands.

On Tuesday (Jan 14), the High Court rejected a petition filed seeking a rescheduling of Dhaka south and north city corporation elections slated for January 30.

The order sparked protests several hours later at Shahbagh, leaving thousands of citizens trapped in massive gridlocks on the connecting roads.

After the commission announced on Dec 22 last year that polls to DSCC and DNCC would be held on Jan 30, 2020, the members of the Hindu community voiced its opposition to the decision immediately as they were set to celebrate Saraswati Puja on Jan 29-30.

Matters became more complicated with the school holiday calendar, sanctioned by the government, marking Jan 29 for the Hindu religious festival.

Many Hindu religious groups, including the Puja Udjapon Parishad and Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), had urged the Election Commission to move the election day to facilitate the community in celebrating the festival.

The court passed the order considering the progress in the election process and the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations scheduled to take place on Feb 2.

On Jan 6, Supreme Court lawyer Ashoke Kumar Ghosh filed the writ seeking its directive to defer the polls as Saraswati Puja, one of the biggest religious festivals of the Hindu community, will be celebrated across the country on the day.

On Dec 22 last, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda announced the election schedule for the polls to DNCC and DSCC fixing Jan 30 as the voting date.