Students of Barishal University (BU) blocked traffic on the busy Barishal-Patuakhali Highway for around 12 hours on Wednesday, demanding immediate action against the attackers of their fellow students.
Later – upon the request of the local administration, police and the university authorities – the agitating students withdrew their blockade at 7pm after giving a 48-hour ultimatum for taking action against the perpetrators.
Around 14 students of the university were injured after transport workers allegedly attacked them at their hostels in the city's Rupatoli area on Tuesday at midnight, said witnesses.
Following the attack, scores of BU students protested from 7am till the evening. Students also set fire to a Kuakata-bound bus on the highway.
Previously, on Tuesday afternoon, two BU students were allegedly harassed and manhandled by some staff members of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) at the BRTC bus counter in Rupatoli area.
In protest, students of the university blocked the bus terminal till the evening. They dispersed only after police arrested a BRTC employee, identified as Rafiqul Islam, who allegedly assaulted the students.
Later, transport workers attacked the students' hostels following the filing of a case against Rafiqul Islam. Tamal had filed the case, claiming he and his classmate had been assaulted at a BRTC bus counter in a brawl over buying a ticket, said one of Tamal's friends.
"We are working to ensure peaceful co-existence among teachers, students, local people and transport workers," said professor Dr Md Sadekul Arefin, vice chancellor of BU.
Anwar Hossain Talukdar, officer-in-charge of Port Police Station, told The Business Standard (TBS) that the situation has been brought under control and the students are calm at the moment.
The police will take action against the attackers after investigating the matter, he added.
Seven students, who were brutally assaulted, are undergoing treatment at Sher E Bangla Medical College Hospital, Barishal, said Dr Balor Hossain, the director of the hospital.
Students demanded the rapid arrest and punishment of the attackers after filing a case in connection with the attack on the students, said Mahadi, a student of the final year of the university.
They alleged that the attackers were backed by the Barisal-Patuakhali Minibus Owners' Association's general secretary Kawsar Hossain Shipon.
Shipon, however, denied the allegation and said this was a matter between BRTC and the students.
"Local staffers are not involved in this. None of our men went there to attack students," he told TBS.