They blocked the busy Airport Road at 11am, staging a three-hour sit-in that created a tailback on the road
Several hundred students from government and private medical colleges staged demonstrations blocking Amtoli Road of Mohakhali in the capital on Tuesday, demanding that there be no exams amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The medical students took to the street at around 9am in front of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) office in Mohakhali, to press home their four-point demand.
Later, they blocked the busy Airport Road at 11am, staging a three-hour sit-in that created a long tailback on the road.
The protesters called off the protest until 8 November after director of DGHS (Medical Education) Dr AKM Ahsan Habib assured them of taking steps to meet their demands.
Commenting over the students' demands, Dr Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of the Bangladesh Medical Association, told The Business Standard that as a physician he cannot support students who are demanding fourth year clearance without any professional exams.
"As a doctor and former medical student, it is shameful to me and even to the society, too," he added.
"The director of DGHS medical education sought seven days' time to scrutinise our four-point demand. We left the streets after receiving their assurances," said Asid Rahman, a fourth year student of the Armed Forces Medical College and also a leader of the demonstration.
"We demand [there be] no exams amid the crisis of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The authorities should also think about online classes or exams too," he added.
Their demands include: postponing examinations during Covid-19, not charging tuition fees for more than 60 months, starting online classes to avoid session jams, and considering the health risks of the students while taking decisions on examinations and class orders.
"The demonstrators left the area at 2:20pm," said Md Abdul Matin, Inspector (patrol) of Banani Police Station.
Another protester Mou, a fourth year student from a private medical college, told The Business Standard that the medical college authorities asked them to attend exams amid the upcoming second wave of the pandemic.
"They also asked for a mandatory signature from every student, assuring that the authorities would not be responsible if any student contracts the virus during the exams, or even dies from the infection," she added.
Saying that the medical college authorities are planning to charge more than the fixed 60 months' installment if a session jam is created, she said, "This would be harsh for the students."
"If the authorities decide to continue the education year without any exams, they can do so, we have no objection to this," the student observed.
Previously, on 1 November, a section of students of general medical and dental colleges blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital demanding a session-jam-free academic year amid the pandemic.