When politics prevails over merit | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 21, 2003 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:52 PM, June 16, 2013

When politics prevails over merit

Her competitors have far better results than hers. But that does not stop the Dhaka University authorities from selecting her for a viva voce for the post of lecturer. After all, she is a Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leader and reportedly masterminded the attack on the Shamsunnahar Hall last year.

A group of so-called pro-BNP teachers are now strongly lobbying for the appointment of controversial JCD leader Noor Jahan Begum Shanta to the newly established Development Studies Department.

Her selection for the viva voce also exemplifies how the university authorities have been politically biased over the years in selecting teachers irrespective of their capability.

Sources said a selection committee headed by the pro-vice-chancellor has already finalised a shortlist for recruitment to the posts of two lecturers and an assistant professor for the department. And Shanta is an overwhelming favourite.

A total of 116 candidates applied against two posts of lecturers and one of assistant professor. Of them, 79 were called for written tests and finally, 25 including Shanta were selected for viva voce held on January 7 and 8.

Except Shanta, the rest have four first-class degrees or equivalent results from SSC to Masters. Only Shanta has three first-class degrees.

Chairman of the department Prof. Aftab Ahmed, also a member of the selection committee, said requests from influential persons for recruitment of teachers are very common. "But we pick the brilliant students on the basis of their academic results," he told The Daily Star.

Campus sources said Halima Khan Lucy, the then president of Shamsunnahar Hall unit JCD, along with Shanta provoked police to attack the female students of the Shamsunahar Hall on July 24 last year.

The incident led to student unrest on the campus that forced then vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Anwarullah Chowdhury, to step down.

A judicial commission formed to investigate the incident in its report said there were arms at room No. 235 of the Shamsunnahar Hall where Lucy, Shanta and two other JCD activists, Lily and Kanon, were staying on the night of the police attack.

The JCD activists wanted police protection to ensure their stay in the room, since if they left the room, the presence of arms would have been exposed, the probe report said.

The one-member commission headed by Justice M Tafazzul Islam was formed on July 27 and it submitted its report on September 3. The report, which is yet to be made public, said police entered the hall and arrested students upon directives of the JCD leaders.

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