BRAC University: Students protest 'assault' on teacher
Brac University students took to the streets for the second consecutive day yesterday, protesting an alleged assault on a teacher of law department by three administrative staff, including the registrar.
They also demanded that the authorities concerned reinstate the teacher, Farhaan Uddin Ahmed, who was terminated on Sunday.
Yesterday, over hundred students, mostly from the law department, started staging a sit-in in front of the university's Building-2 since 9:00am. The protest began on Sunday after the news of the assault, as well as the termination, spread among students.
Meanwhile, the university authorities yesterday formed a five-member committee to investigate the incident. It has been asked to submit the report within seven working days.
But the protesters rejected the committee.
The students chanted slogans for removal of three officials -- Registrar Sahool Afzal, Assistant Registrar Mahi Uddin and senior officer at the office of co-curricular activities Jabed Rasel.
Some students alleged that the university authorities intimidated them into stopping their agitation.
They complained that security guards of the university drove them out from its administrative building around 6:00pm.
Some female students alleged that they had been assaulted.
Following the incident, Alumni Association of Brac University yesterday protested the "assault" on students. Its President Tajdin Hassan called upon the association members to gather on the university campus at 6:30pm today to protest the incident.
Earlier, Farhaan, who joined the university as a lecturer in July last year on a contract for a year, filed a complaint with Banani Police Station, accusing the three of assaulting him.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, he said, “The university authorities issued a letter extending my contract till August 31 instead of regularising my job."
For this reason, he wrote an application to the authorities, expressing grievance about the decision.
The teacher alleged that he was asked to appear before the office on Sunday and was given a termination letter instead.
“As I refused, the registrar pulled my ID card with such a force that my panjabi pocket was torn. I was pushed down so violently that I still have bruises all over my arms and even on my chest,” Farhaan said.
"I was terminated not on professional grounds, rather for the authorities' vengeance as I made some decisions considering students' interest,” Farhaan told the protest rally.
University VC Prof Syed Saad Andaleeb yesterday said he asked the students to come to his office and talk freely over their demands. "But they demanded that I must go to the street to talk to them. But how can I negotiate with 200 students in the open street?"
He said the students, however, sent 25 delegates to his office and demanded the removal of the three administrative staff.
"I told them that I have formed an investigation committee where a position has been preserved for a student representative and I will take action fairly according to the findings of the committee. I cannot take any step against any individual be he or she a student, a faculty or an administrative staff without substantial evidence," he added.
Wishing not to be named, a student told this newspaper, “We are here [protesting] as we believe the university authorities have done injustice to our teacher [Farhaan]. We like him and we know he is a good teacher”.
“Assaulting a university teacher is a shameful act. It will be a bad instance if the responsible people go unpunished.”
In a press release on its website yesterday, the university said it formed the five-member probe committee.
Prof AFM Yusuf Haider, chairperson of the university's mathematics and natural sciences department and former Pro-VC of Dhaka University, will lead the committee. There will be a university alumni and a student representative in the committee as its members.