HOW long will teachers keep losing their lives in the Rajshahi University campus? This is an important question that we all should address with great seriousness. Rajshahi University has been seeing killings of its teacher since 2004 when Professor Mohammad Yunus was killed when he was taking a morning walk. Professor Taher Ahmed was killed and kept inside manhole in 2006. The latest inclusion in this list is Professor A.K.M. Shafiul Islam (Lilon) who was killed on its way back home from the Department of Sociology.
Members of the Rajshahi University family cannot understand why Professor Lilon was killed in such a manner. Like the majority of the teachers, I also knew him as a very pleasant personality. He always kept himself busy doing research and academic work. For the last couple of years, he was practicing Baulism, being inspired by the philosophy of Lalon fakir. Although he was a registered member of the teachers' wing upholding the spirit of freedom fighters and progressiveness, he was not so active in the political arena. Thus, it is very difficult to figure out why he was killed.
Being peace-loving members of the society, we do not want to see any death of this nature. It is very difficult to forget this sort of killing. Such killings will have a very significant social impact since they create a sense of insecurity within the society.
The worst sufferer of this killing is Zebin, his son, who had lost his mother when he was a child. He started his university life last year. He has lost his father at a time when he needed him as a guide. After losing both parents, how will he continue his life? Can we imagine his pain when he was carrying the dead body of his father at such an early age? It is more painful for the parents of Professor Lilon because the death of a son is the weightiest thing to carry. Thus, we do not want such incidents in anyone's life.
It is really unfortunate to see that public university teachers are being harassed and killed very often. It is extremely regrettable that the perpetrators have not yet been identified. These incidents are creating a sense of insecurity among the teachers of public universities. They are also indicative of the deterioration of law and order in the country.
Whatever the motive of the killing was, we want the perpetrators to be identified and arrested very soon, and face trial. Everything in Bangladesh is considered from the political perspective. We do not want to assume or predict anything before the investigation is over. We, the teachers of Rajshahi University, are united to demand punishment of the killers. At the same time, we do not want harassment of any innocent person. But, we want to see that the killers are identified and tried in the court.
The president and the prime minister deserve special appreciation for keeping constant watch on the progress of the progress of the investigation. It is reported that the Prime Minister's Office is monitoring the progress. The president, while delivering his speech in the convocation of the Rajshahi University of Science and Technology (RUET), instructed the law enforcing agencies to take necessary action to identify the killers.
I would also request the government to take the necessary initiative for taking care of Zebin, who is passing through a traumatic situation after losing his father. We, the members of the teaching community of Rajshahi University, will also provide all sorts of assistance to him whenever required.
To conclude, death is not at all desirable for anybody. And it is quite heartbreaking if anyone is murdered. It is the duty of the university administration and the law enforcing agencies to ensure safety and security of all having association with Rajshahi University. If that can be ensured, only then will we be able to come out from the death trap.
The writer is a Professor in the Department of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi.