Total five former students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) and 100-150 other unnamed individuals have been sued over the ongoing movement to oust Vice Chancellor (VC) Farid Uddin Ahmed.
The case was filed by Md Layek, organizing secretary of district Tanti League in Sylhet with Jalalabad police station at around 11:30pm on Tuesday night, confirmed Officer-in-Charge (OC) Nazmul Huda Khan to the media.
The named students are, Reza Nur Moin, 31, son of Moin Uddin of Bogura district, Habibur Rahman, 26, son of Matier Rahman Khan, Nazmul Sakib, 32, son of Mizanur Rahman of Khulna district, AKM Maruf Hossain, 28, son of Mosharraf of Mirpur in Dhaka and Foysal Ahmed, 27, son of Sadiqul Islam.
According to the case dockets, the accused students unlawfully obstructed the movement of the general people, extorted money, made threats, and aided in destructive activities during the protests.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the five former students for "sending money to the protesting students."
The detainees later were handed over to the Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP).
They were being interrogated about funding the student movement, said SMP Commissioner Nisharul Arif.
When asked whether financing a movement is a crime, Nisharul Arif said, "We will look into it if there is an inside story. If the financing is meant for destabilising the situation, then it certainly is a crime."
On 13 January, a group of SUST resident students began demonstrating, alleging that their provost, Zafrin Ahmed Liza, misbehaved with a student who called her to report bad food and other issues.
On 16 January, police charged batons, lobbed tear shell canisters, fired rubber bullets, and threw stan grenades on the agitating students that left some 30 pupils injured. The police action turned the student protest into an-anti VC one as protesters went on a fast-unto-death programme.
Education Minister Dipu Moni spoke with a delegation of the protestors in a video call on Saturday night for almost an hour. The students said that they would not break their fast until the VC resigned.
On Monday, the University Teachers Network observed a token hunger strike on Dhaka University (DU) campus to express solidarity with the SUST students. Many DU students also joined the protest expressing their solidarity.
At the programme, Jahangirnagar University teacher Prof Anu Muhammad said the SUST VC should resign immediately if he has minimum self-respect.
"Though the students are staging the demonstration for saving the SUST, they are actually risking their lives for a greater movement meant for repairing and strengthening the battle for change at all public universities," commented Anu Muhammad.
On Monday evening, left-leaning student organisations brought out a torch procession on DU campus expressing solidarity with the ongoing SUST movement. Before that, they held a brief agitation rally in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh.