Iffat not guilty! | Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 14, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:18 AM, April 14, 2018

Iffat 'innocent'

BCL reinstates its Sufia Kamal Hall unit leader; cops identify 200 FB IDs 'spreading rumours'

Making a U-turn, the BCL yesterday reinstated its president of Dhaka University's Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall unit just 48 hours after expelling the unit president, who allegedly assaulted three female students for taking part in demonstrations for quota reform.

The pro-Awami League student body said it found the BCL hall unit President, Iffat Jahan Isha, "innocent" in its investigation.

Not only BCL, the vice chancellor of the DU, which expelled Iffat from the university and the hall, also changed his tone.

"She will not only get back her studentship, but also be rewarded,” DU VC Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman told a private TV channel yesterday.

"We cannot do injustice to any student."

The VC further said the allegation that Iffat had cut tendons of a female student was found to be false.

Prof Akhtaruzzaman, however, later told this newspaper that Iffat will be given back her studentship if the university authorities find her innocent in their investigation. But he didn't give any details of the probe.

Asked what the reward was for, he said, "Since she was humiliated, we will reward her to restore her honour."

Following the incident on early Wednesday, DU Proctor AKM Golam Rabbani said Iffat had confessed to assaulting the three students, and she also begged for forgiveness.

Hours later, the DU VC told journalists that he had verified the incident of assault through two sources -- DU proctor and the hall administration -- and immediately expelled Iffat.

Yesterday, the BCL reinstated Iffat to her post as "no evidence was found" in support of the allegations brought against her.

"The probe body finds Iffat innocent," reads a press release signed by the BCL president and the general secretary.

Following Iffat's expulsion, many former BCL leaders stood by her and demanded that she is reinstated to the BCL post. They claimed that she was expelled under pressure from the agitating students.

The BCL on Thursday formed a four-member body to investigate the matter and asked it to submit a report within 24 hours.

Earlier around 1:00am on Wednesday, some photos of a female student at Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall went viral on the social media. The victim alleged that she was tortured by some female BCL leaders for taking part in the demonstrations.

According to some students at the hall, Iffat was allegedly assaulting three students inside her room around 12:30am for joining the protests.

Hearing shouts of students, Morsheda Akhtar, a fourth-year student of botany and also vice president of the BCL hall unit, rushed to Iffat's room. Finding it locked, she got angry, kicked a window of the room and cut her foot, they said.

Some photos of her wounded leg were circulated on Facebook with captions that Iffat had cut tendons of Morsheda's leg.   

Morsheda was later taken to hospital. She was released after getting treatment.

Learning about the assault on the three protesters, the students of the dormitory involved in the agitation broke into Iffat's room around 1:00am and beat her up.

In a video footage that did the rounds on Facebook, Morsheda claimed that she had to tolerate “torture by Iffat for many days”.

“As the hall authorities could not provide us accommodation, we were compelled to follow their [the hall unit BCL president and general secretary] orders.”

She claimed Iffat had beaten up some protesters on Monday and Tuesday, and assaulted three students on early Wednesday for joining the protests.

Hearing about the assault, she could not control her anger and kicked a window of Iffat's room, she said.

During the incident, some female students of the hall went live on Facebook, and showed video of protests by general students at the dormitory.

Protests spread to four other female halls of the university around 1:30am. The majority of the students came out to the front yards at the halls to protest the incident, witnesses told this newspaper.

Around 1:45am, the DU proctor entered Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall amid protests from students in and outside the dormitory.

Within an hour, around 5,000 male students from DU's different dormitories gathered in front of the hall to protest the incident. Later, they brought out a procession demanding immediate arrest of Iffat.

200 FB ACCOUNTS IDENTIFIED

The cyber security unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police has primarily identified around 200 Facebook accounts that “spread rumours” on the social media during the demonstrations for quota reform.

The unit found this while probing a case filed under the ICT Act on Wednesday night for propagating false information on the internet to incite violence during the agitation, Nazmul Islam, additional deputy commissioner of the unit, told this newspaper yesterday.

Sub-Inspector SM Shahjalal, a member of the unit, filed the case with Ramna Police Station against unidentified people without mentioning the number of accused.

During the demonstrations, some misleading and false information was circulated on the internet. They included "death of a student in Dhaka University agitation" and "severing tendons of a female student at Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall at the DU”, said the police officer.

Apart from this case, four other lawsuits were filed over violence during the protests.

On Thursday, students called off demonstrations following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's announcement of scrapping of the quota system in public service recruitments.

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