Bangladesh university reopens after student unrest

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DHAKA, Oct 28 (Reuters) Dhaka University, Bangladesh's biggest, reopened today, with cheerful students thronging the campus, shut down following student violence over two months ago.

The violence in late August was triggered by the presence of army troops at a campus football match, and later spread to other universities across the country.

Authorities ordered Dhaka and six other universities to be closed indefinitely, while a one-man judicial commission was appointed to probe what was the most violent incident since anarmy-backed interim government took charge in January, in the wake of widespread political unrest.

As tension largely eased, but with the probe still continuing, authorities reopened the Dhaka and three other universities today, after earlier opening the other three that were closed.

''We are happy to be here again,'' said a female student. ''We were desperately waiting for the classes and exams to resume before it is too late.'' University officials said they were still negotiating with law enforcement authorities to secure the release of teachers and students detained after the August 22 unrest.

Allegedly backed by vested political groups and influenced by teachers, the students rampaged through the capital and other cities on that day, burning or damaging dozens of vehicles as they clashed with police.

A man was killed in the Rajshahi University in the northwest while around 300 others were injured across the country.

''The teachers and students have returned to the campus ... but we want release of four teachers detained for allegedly instigating the student unrest,'' Prof. SMA Fayez, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University, told reporters.

Bangladesh has been under a state of emergency since the interim authority took over on January 11 following weeks of political violence that killed at least 25 people.

The government has pledged a fair election by the end of next year after preparing a voters list with photographs and completing a drive against corruption.

Reuters SS GC1743

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