Coming down hard on those involved in movements against the vice-chancellors of several universities, including Jahangirnagar University, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the accusers would have to face punishment if they failed to prove the allegations.
“If they fail to prove the allegations, they will be punished for bringing false accusations... we will definitely do this. Because I can’t tolerate that classes will remain closed day after day,” she said.
The PM made the comments while distributing cheques of financial assistance among some sick, financially insolvent and injured journalists as well as the families of journalists killed in road accidents.
The cheques were handed over at a simple ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office. The money came from Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust.
Hasina said movements started suddenly against several VCs and the protesters were branding them as corrupt.
Mentioning that the protesters must prove the allegations raised at Jahangirnagar University, she said, “If anyone fails to prove, the accuser will have to face the same punishment [what might have been awarded to the accused] as is mentioned in the law.”
The PM said she has already directed the authorities concerned to keep the records and footage of speeches and words of everyone who are bringing allegations.
“I would like to say it unequivocally that those who are bringing graft allegations will have to prove those and provide information. If they can provide information, we will definitely take actions [against the corrupt].”
Hasina said carrying out attacks on the VC’s residence, office, vandalism and disrupting classes and activities of a university in the name of a movement was also a kind of terror act.
Talking about Buet, Hasina said the government took action immediately after the murder of Abrar Fahad and arrested all those involved in the crime.
“We took action soon after receiving information... everybody [accused] has already been arrested. Everything, including case proceedings, is going on. Then what are they waging the movement for? This is my question.”
The premier said being an autonomous body, a university is supposed to be run with its own financing. But the government provides money from the national budget to the universities every year, she added.
She said a movement is waged whenever any development work or a project is approved for a university.
Hasina said a project has been approved (for the JU), but the money is yet to be disbursed. “A movement has been waged raising corruption allegations before the disbursement of the money.”
DEATH OF NAIMUL ABRAR
Referring to the death of Naimul Abrar Rahat, a student of Dhaka Residential Model College, the PM criticised daily Prothom Alo for neglecting the safety and security of students, and not taking proper steps for his treatment.
Abrar was electrocuted during a function of Kishor Alo on the college premises on Friday.
Hasina said those who arrange a programme on the ground of an educational institution should have the sense of responsibility to ensure the safety of the students. They should have been careful about the safety and security of the children and proper arrangement of everything, she added.
“They neglected it to the point that the boy died from electrocution, but they kept the incident hidden until all the components of the function were over,” the PM said, adding that although there were so many hospitals nearby, they took the student to a private hospital in Mohakhali.
She said the incident of electrocution was reported repeatedly, but nobody paid heed to it.
“How can the Prothom Alo do such a thing with so much negligence? They are holding their function. Don’t they have any responsibility? Won’t they see whether it was being held properly? They should have realised that children are also studying in the school.”
Talking about media outlets, she urged them to focus on the names and identities of criminals, particularly in the cases of sexual repression against women.
She also called upon the owners of media outlets to come forward to donate to the fund of Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust.
Hasina handed over cheques of financial assistance to 53 journalists and families of newsmen at the function.
State Minister for Information Murad Hassan and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Ministry Hasanul Haq Inu were present at the programme, chaired by Information Minister Hasan Mahmud.