The authorities said they did not receive any complaints on the issue on Sunday as a hunger strike by the protesters continued for the fifth day.
A spokesman for the protesters said at a press conference at the protest site outside the VC’s residence in the afternoon that almost all the students who took part in the hunger strike got phone calls from their departments with veiled threats. “Their families have been told that no one is here to see them. But doctors of our team of volunteers are looking after them round the clock. “
“The teachers of a department even tried to force a striker to drink juice. These incidents are affecting their [strikers’] mental health, but they are still determined to continue the hunger strike until our demand is met. “
Tulshi Kumar Das, president of the teachers’ association at the university, did not receive phone calls for comments.
Treasurer Anwarul Islam said they will look into the issue if they get specific allegations.
The protesters said 15 of the strikers were hospitalized. Four more joined the strike, raising the number of strikers outside the VC’s home to 12.
Following a meeting with teachers on Saturday, Education Minister Dipu Moni talked to the protesters after midnight via video call, urging them to end their hunger strike.
The protesters, however, refused to budge from their demand for the resignation of VC Farid. They said they were ready to sit for talks, but would not end the hunger strike until their demand was met.
Students had begun protests to demand the resignation of Zafrin Ahmed Liza, provost of Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, after she had allegedly ‘misbehaved’ with students.
Though she was eventually removed, students have continued their campaign to press for the resignation of VC Farid Uddin after police used batons, tear shells and stun grenades to break up a protest.
Police charged 300 unnamed students in a case last week over the protesters’ clash with law enforcers. Later, the students launched the hunger strike to push for the removal of the VC and the dismissal of the case against protesters.