Restless students issue 96-hour ultimatum for national half-pass on buses

Students take to the streets of Rampura in Dhaka to protest the death of a student in the neighborhood on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 Syed Zakir Hossain / Dhaka Tribune

Police prosecute 300 people for torching eight buses in Rampura during protest against death of SSC candidate

Yesterday, thousands of student protesters in Dhaka issued an ultimatum to the government to implement half-fare on buses across the country by December 5.

Protesters have blocked major crossroads, including Rampura, Jatrabari, Shantinagar and Malibagh, in the capital since the morning and filed an 11-point demand contradicting Tuesday’s proposal by bus owners to halve student-only fares in Dhaka.

However, they announced that the roads will not be blocked today to help HSC candidates reach their exam centers without any issues. HSC and equivalent exams will begin today across the country.

“However, we will form human chains from 12 noon to 1 pm and observe a two minute silence in front of the National Press Club. We will wear black badges to remember those who died in traffic accidents, ”said Mohidul Islam, one of the protesters.

“Our protest will continue. A mass rally will take place on December 5 if the authorities concerned do not respond to our 11-point request, ”he added.

The students also announced that they will not be returning home until the half-pass by bus is applicable to students across the country.

11 demand points

Initially, the protesters issued a nine-point charter of demands, but yesterday another group of students added two more points.

Sohagi Samia, a student at Khilgaon Model College, and Nadimur Rahman Jewel, a student at Dhaka Imperial College, announced the demands on behalf of protesters during the protest at Rampura Bridge yesterday morning.

They demanded that trucks, garbage trucks and other heavy vehicles run between midnight and 5 a.m., as well as regular doping tests and counseling for drivers.

The other nine claims include guarantee of justice and compensation for victims of road accidents; issuance of a notice in the Official Journal on the implementation of half-passes; ensure the safety of women in public transport; compensation and rehabilitation of injured passengers and transport workers; ensure rapid penalties for those responsible for accidents and raise awareness of road safety.

The students also urged the government to redesign the traffic management system; ensuring well-planned bus stops and parking; and appropriate training for all drivers.

Case against 250-300 people

Meanwhile, police yesterday filed a complaint against 250 to 300 people for setting eight buses on fire in a protest that began after Mainuddin Islam Durjoy, who took the SSC exams this year, was hit by a bus at Rampura last Monday.

Hatirjheel Police Deputy Inspector AKM Niazuddin Mollah opened the case on the basis of an FIR under the Explosives Act.

Earlier, after Durjoy’s death, his mother Rashida Begum lodged a complaint against the bus driver and his assistant with the Rampura Police Department under the Road Transport Act 2018.

Another case was also filed by Rampura police against 400 to 500 unidentified people for torching eight buses and vandalizing four others.