Protesting teachers and students yesterday said they would not investigate the allegations of corruption against the Jahangirnagar University vice chancellor, but the intelligence officials should.
They demonstrated throughout the day, defying the university administration’s ban on rallies and processions on campus. They also held a protest concert in front of the VC’s residence in the evening.
“We aren’t from the intelligence agencies. How would we prove the allegations?” asked Prof Sayeed Ferdous of anthropology after a rally at what the protesters call the VC removal platform.
Around 200 teachers and students, under the banner of Jahangirnagar Against corruption, marched on campus around 1:00pm.
The teachers said it was the responsibility of the government to look into the allegations.
If an investigation is launched and it finds the allegations to be false, the protesters will accept that, they added.
Many teachers and students have been protesting on the campus since September 18, demanding the resignation of VC Prof Farzana Islam over her alleged involvement in corruption and mismanagement of a Tk 1,445-crore campus development project.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at an event yesterday said the protesters will have to face punishment if they fail to prove the allegations against the VC.
Responding to the remarks, Prof Sayeed said, “If she thinks that we are protesting against corruption after being instigated by some others, she may investigate that…
“We have read it [reports on corruption] on newspapers and watched it on TV. We urged the VC at the time to launch an investigation, but she didn’t.”
Meanwhile, JU BCL General Secretary SM Abu Sufian Chanchal submitted his resignation, said Ahsan Habib, office secretary of BCL executive committee.
Chanchal allegedly received Tk 25 lakh from the JU VC.
Coordinator of the protesters, Prof Rayhan Rhyne yesterday expressed deep concern at what he said was the government’s reluctance to form a body to look into the allegations despite the abundance of evidence of corruption.
“In the beginning, we demanded a fair investigation. But the VC decided not to launch an investigation… Our suspicion grew deeper after she decided not to form a probe body,” he said.
Prof Mirza Taslima Sultana of anthropology said, “We teach and… we do research. If the government wants, there are institutions that investigate.”
Shovon Rahman, organising secretary of JU Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, said, “We urge Prof Farzana Islam to face an investigation and prove her innocence. But she doesn’t have the spine needed to do that.”
Contacted, ASM Firoz-Ul-Hasan, acting proctor of the university, said, “The university has been closed indefinitely. Classes and exams have been ceased. The dorms have been cleared. If anyone tries to cause an upheaval, it will be against the law.”
JU authorities on Tuesday closed the university for an indefinite period and banned processions and rallies on campus until further notice.
The move came hours after Chhatra League men assaulted the demonstrators.