Teachers' sit-in foiled by BCL
Chhatra League activists swooped on agitating teachers of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) on the campus in Sylhet yesterday, teachers said.
Several teachers, including Prof Yasmeen Haque, wife of noted writer Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, were assaulted by activists of the pro-Awami League student organisation during a teachers' demonstration in the morning, they added.
BCL campus unit leaders, however, said they had nothing to do with the incident and termed the allegation against them “false and baseless”.
Meanwhile, university Vice-chancellor Aminul Haque Bhuiyan alleged that the agitating teachers “shoved” him on his way to office.
A section of teachers, under the banner of Mahan Muktijuddher Chetonay Udbuddho Shikkhak Parishad, have been demanding removal of the VC since April 12 for his alleged irregularities and misbehaviour with the teachers.
As part of the agitation, the teachers were to stage a pre-scheduled sit-in at the administrative building from 9:00am yesterday to stop the VC from entering his office.
BCL men of the university unit gathered near the administrative building gate around 6:00am and the teachers began to arrive around 7:30am, witnesses said.
SUST Academic Council was scheduled to meet at the same building.
As the VC came in front of the building around 8:30am, the agitating teachers tried to block his way. In no time, the Chhatra League men entered the scene and got involved in an altercation with the teachers, according to eyewitnesses.
Soon, the activists were locked in a scuffle with the teachers and helped the VC get into his office on the first floor of the building. Some of the activists took away the banner from the teachers and shoved and pushed them away, the witnesses added.
Yasmeen Haque, who teaches physics, was seen in the middle of the chaos and was later rescued by teachers.
Aktar Hossain, officer-in-charge of Jalalabad Police Station, was standing between the teachers and the BCL activists, pleading everyone to calm down. His team finally took control of the situation.
Rights body Ain o Salish Kendra in a statement strongly condemned the attack and demanded stern actions against those responsible.
Syed Shamsul Haque, convener of the teachers' platform, said 10 teachers, including Prof Yasmeen and Prof Mohammad Yunus, were assaulted.
Prof Yasmeen blamed the BCL men for the attack.
"Chhatra League men carried out the physical assault on the teachers. It never happened on this campus in the last 25 years. What is the source of so much audacity? It is the VC," she said.
Prof Zafar Iqbal was on the campus during the incident. After the incident he was seen sitting on the campus, shell-shocked, saddened.
In protest of the attack, the agitating teachers will abstain from work from 9:00am to 12:00noon today and will then hold a rally on the campus wearing black badges.
Proctor Qumruzzaman Chowdhury, however, said no one was injured in the incident.
VC Aminul Haque said the teachers wanted to create an awkward situation through yesterday's incident on the campus.
"I was shoved to a side, yet I came to my office amid the shoving and pushing," he told reporters.
OC Aktar Hossain would not say much about the incident. “You have seen what happened."
BCL leaders claimed that it was the general students who assembled there and helped the VC to enter his office.
SUST BCL unit President Partha told reporters in the afternoon, "I want to say it in clear terms that Chhatra League was not involved in the incident organisationally. It was not its organisational decision either [to be part of the incident]."
The demonstrating teachers launched the agitation on April 12, demanding removal of the VC. On April 20, 35 teachers resigned from different administrative posts in protest.
Four days later, the VC went on a two-month leave.
[Our Moulvibazar correspondent Mintu Deshwara contributed to this report.]