Protests intensifying on campus
Protests by Rajshahi University's (RU) teachers and students gained momentum yesterday for punitive measures, including expulsion from the ruling Awami League (AL), against Rajshahi-1 lawmaker Omar Faruque Chowdhury and Rajshahi city unit General Secretary Dablu Sarker over their “virulent” behaviour at the vice-chancellor's (VC) office recently.
Meanwhile, RU issued a statement refuting allegations brought by the AL unit at a press conference on Saturday that the VC himself had “misbehaved” with Omar, terming those false and fabricated.
Furthermore, RU unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) reiterated their seven-point demand through a press conference, including stopping establishment of a police station on the campus, planting trees and withdrawing cases against BCL men.
Besides, over 200 students and teachers protested and demanded exemplary punishment over the sexual assault on some 20 women at the Suhrawardy Udyan gate near Dhaka University's Teacher-Student Centre during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on April 14.
On Wednesday, Omar barged into VC Muhammad Mizanuddin's office, shouted expletives and threatened to get the latter sacked, allegedly after being asked to meet later.
Denying this, Omar said he had gone there and only talked about lessening a fine the RU authorities imposed on a private medical college.
Shah Makhdum Medical College, the managing committee chairman of which is Omar, was fined Tk 25 lakh for starting academic activities without RU's approval.
Next day, Dablu, accompanied by some 30 others, pushed his way into the office, shouted expletives and manhandled at least five teachers, demanding that people of their choosing be appointed in the RU administration.
Yesterday, RU Deans' Committee provided a memorandum to the chancellor, prime minister and education minister seeking their intervention.
Over 300 teachers under the banner “Progressive Teachers Society” brought out a silent procession, joined a rally around 11:00am and initiated a signature campaign.
Some 300 teachers and students of social work department formed a human chain on Paris Road at 11:30am.
Simultaneously, another 350 of sociology department brought out a silent procession.
Furthermore, about 200 of folklore department formed a human chain around noon, declaring the duo “persona non grata” on the campus.
The RU authorities refuted Dablu's 14 allegations over how the VC had favoured BNP, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir in recruiting 12 staff, ignoring quality candidates from the pro-AL BCL.
All appointments were according to the RU ordinance, prioritising freedom fighters' children, with the VC only presiding over the selection board, added the RU statement.