Students demonstrating against the mismanagement of Bangladesh Railway (BR) have called off their blockade following assurance from the authorities that all their demands will be met.
Train operations from the capital to other parts of the country, after being at a complete halt since 9am, resumed at around 12:20pm, Khairul Kabir, divisional transport officer (Dhaka) of BR, told the media.
Earlier in the morning, a group of students blocked the rail line at Airport Station in Dhaka after they were denied tickets for Rajshahi
They first blocked the Chilahaati-bound Neelsagar Express from running. No train was able to leave the station but those entering Dhaka were allowed.
According to sources, the protesters, mainly those who are supposed to sit for Rajshahi University (RU) admission test, blocked the railway.
The students had gathered at the station today morning (20 July) to buy tickets to Rajshahi.
However, the authorities, after selling tickets to a few of them, claimed no more were available.
The admission aspirants said that they could not find tickets online either.
This led to an altercation which later turned into a student demonstration protesting BR's mismanagement.
Ealier this week, four Chittagong University (CU) students did a sit-in at Chittagong Railway Station in protest against BR, in solidarity with Mohiuddin Roni, a fourth-year student of Dhaka University (DU), who started a sit-in at Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka with a six-point demand.
The four students – Mahbub Hasan, Mohammad Masud, Mohammad Mahin Rubel and Kazi Ashikur Rahman – were at Chittagong Railway Station from 10am to 5pm on Sunday with their six-point demand demanding a stop to the harassment of passengers.
Mahbub Hasan told The Business Standard (TBS) that Roni is not the only victim of Bangladesh Railway corruption. Almost all passengers have experienced similar harassment.
"We will continue with our sit-in until the railway authorities meet our demands. Today, we stayed till 5pm, but we will be here 24 hours round the clock from tomorrow," said Mahbub.
The six-point demand includes immediately stopping passenger harassment by shohoz.com when purchasing tickets and taking action to investigate incidents of harassment; taking appropriate measures to prevent black marketing of tickets; stopping online ticket quotas to ensure equal opportunities for all in purchasing tickets online-offline; undertaking long-term plans for railway infrastructure development, including increasing the number of trains to keep pace with passenger demand; improving the quality of railway services by developing a robust information system and continuously monitoring the activities of train ticket examiners, supervisors and other responsible persons; ensuring the sale of food on trains at fair prices, free supply of clean water, and hygienic sanitation.
Last month, after Mohiuddin Roni was harassed when buying a train ticket, he started a sit-in and a public mass signature campaign in front of the ticket counter of Kamalapur Railway Station on 7 July.
He was there even on Eid day.
On 9 July, policemen barred his sit-in programme. Since then, he has stopped his signature campaign but started a 24-hour sit-in programme.
Two Chittagong University students, Mohammad Mahin Rubel and Kazi Ashikur Rahman, and Dhaka University student Jaya Mondal joined his protest programme on 11 July in solidarity with him.