Students and teachers besieged the two administrative buildings of Jahangirnagar University (JU) for the third consecutive day yesterday, protesting alleged corruption of the authorities and unplanned development work which they claim will endanger the biodiversity of the campus.
The protesters started gathering on the campus and blocked entrances of the two buildings around 8:30am under the banner “Jahangirnagar Against Corruption.”
Around 12pm, JU Vice Chancellor Professor Farzana Islam, along with administrative officials, spoke with protesters about holding a meeting to resolve the issue.
The protesters bargained with the VC about their demands for at least one hour. They said if the authorities are sincere about a discussion, then it might happen. However, the authorities did not give any assurance about changing the masterplan.
Ashikur Rahman, president of Jahangirnagar Sangskritik Jote and one of the leaders of the protest, said that they are willing to discuss all issues with the administration except the allegation of corruption.
He added, “We will agree to a meeting presided by an official of the state or of University Grants Commission, but the VC cannot preside over the meeting as the allegations have been brought against her.”
The protesters said their demonstration will continue during discussions.
Meanwhile, JU unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) issued a press release saying that all allegations of graft against JU BCL and central BCL over the development project are “completely false and fabricated”.
A different faction of teachers yesterday protested the recent statement of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) over “irregularities” centring JU’s development work. They demanded withdrawal of the statement, saying it is disappointing that such a statement has been released before an enquiry.
Agitated students and teachers of JU have been demonstrating on campus since August 23 demanding the relocation of three male students’ dormitories which the authorities planned to construct near Rabindranath Hall, and a judicial probe into the allegations of corruption.