The Dhaka University syndicate has conditionally extended the services of five teachers and a staff under the freedom fighter privileges, flouting syndicate and government rules.
The six are Prof Nasrin Ahmad, pro-vice chancellor (education); Prof Iqbal Ahmed, director at Institute of Business Administration; Prof Azizur Rahman, chairman of physics department; Prof Giasuddin Mollah of political science; Prof Ahsan Ali of anthropology; and Sultana Razia, a dormitory staff at Kuwait Maitree Hall.
Most of the teachers applied for the job extension just before their retirement age of 67.
The syndicate at a meeting on June 22 endorsed the decision, subject to submission of freedom fighter certificates by the six. Four syndicate members gave notes of dissent in the meeting.
Two months have elapsed since then, but none of the beneficiaries have yet submitted the certificates.
The university registrar on June 25 issued letters to all but Prof Nasrin confirming extension of their services. The letters, however, did not mention any timeframe for submission of the documents.
Of the teachers, Prof Nasrin will go on LPR (leave preparatory for retirement) on June 30 next year, while the LPR of Prof Iqbal and Prof Azizur were due on June 30 this year.
Prof Giasuddin Mollah went on LPR on June 30 last year as the chairman of political science department. He applied for the extension in June this year.
Accordingly, the syndicate considered his one year LPR period as normal service age and decided that his LPR will be effective from June 30 next year.
As the chairmanship of Prof Azizur Rahman ended on June 30 this year, the university authorities appointed another teacher to head the physics department. But following the syndicate's decision to extend the service of Prof Azizur, the authorities reinstated him as chairman.
According to a decision made by the syndicate on July 6, 2011, neither any teacher nor any staff should be entitled to benefits applicable for freedom fighters in public jobs unless or until they submit proper documents.
The retirement age of university teachers has been extended from 65 years to 67 years, while that for the staff from 60 to 62 years, read the minutes of the syndicate meeting. The extension of age limits will only be applicable to those who would submit documents approved by the ministry concerned, it added.
The syndicate's move also violates a government gazette issued in November 2012. The notice extended the retirement age of freedom fighter officials and staff in public and autonomous bodies by one year.
In a circular issued on August 4, the liberation war affairs ministry said to be eligible to get a one-year extension in service as a freedom fighter, an employee must declare himself as a freedom fighter while joining the job.
In addition, the name of the employee should be enrolled in the “Mukti Barta” or a gazette, and he must have a valid freedom fighter certificate, added the notice.
Contacted, VC Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said the syndicate extended the services of the staff as they submitted letters from the liberation war affairs ministry stating that the verification of the freedom fighters' authenticity is stopped now and will commence soon.
The ministry in a recent letter to the DU said the extension of freedom fighters' services should be for one year and the university from now on will follow the instructions, he added.
Pro-VC (administration) Shahid Akter Hossain said, “We'll wait till the LPR of the six staff ends. If they fail to submit their freedom fighter certificates by the timeframe, all their benefits will be withdrawn.”
The syndicate will then make a final decision on taking action against them for failure to submit the certificates, he mentioned.
Pro-VC Nasrin Ahmad said she had worked as an English newscaster at the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra. She has applied to Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangshad this year for publishing her name in a gazette.
Contacted, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said they received applications from five DU teachers and a staff for including their names in a gazette.
The ministry requires recommendations from the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council in this regard. The council is not functional now as it has no committee and therefore, the certificates cannot be issued to them at this moment, he pointed out.