Bangladesh Test and T20I captain Shakib Al Hasan urged students to abandon their movement for safer streets and go home to their studies in a Facebook message posted on his verified page at around 7:00pm yesterday (3 August).
After two students, 17-year-old Dia Khanam Mim and 18-year-old Abdul Karim of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College, were killed on the footpath by an errant bus racing with another on the Airport Road on July 29, thousands of school and college students have taken to the streets to protest against dangerous driving and lax traffic laws, while also performing the role of the traffic police by directing traffic and asking to check the licenses of drivers.
“I am currently in Florida. In this important moment I have a message for my young fans. On 29th July, I was very saddened by the deaths of two students Dia and Abdul Karim after a bus ran over them at the Airport road. When I saw that their classmates went on protest to bring to justice those who were responsible and called for safer roads, I was filled with pride as a citizen of Bangladesh,” Shakib wrote yesterday around 7:00pm Bangladesh time. He added that the Prime Minster already provided financial help to the families of the deceased students and urged the protesters to return to their studies.
“If I was in the country, I would have come myself to collect your autographs. I want to thank you for your efforts and want to let you know that your demands are being met. The route permit of the accused transport company has been annulled and five have been arrested. At this moment, it is my earnest request that you go back to classes and focus on your studies. The movement will be successful through you going back to your studies. You will find me beside you if your demands are not fulfilled,” the message added.
That status was met by an overwhelmingly negative deluge of comments, with around 1,500 pouring in within the first half hour. The thrust of most of those was for Shakib to concentrate on cricket and to not make his mind up about whether the demands were met after just five days.
At around 10:30pm last night, that status was removed and a video message posted by Shakib's page, in which he said: “Some of you seem to have misunderstood my message to you all. Please know that I'm with you all and let's try to give your movement shape by allowing our government to meet your demands asap. Please remember I have a young daughter, a sister, a wife and parents like many of you.”