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9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 9 July, 2018 01:16:00 AM

Varsity teachers lend support to quota reform movement

DU Correspondent
Varsity teachers lend support to quota reform movement
University teachers under the banner of ‘Teachers against Repression’ march through the street in front of the Central Library of Dhaka University yesterday demanding a university free from harassment, arrest of perpetrators and release of arrested quota activists. Independent Photo

Teachers of different universities took to the streets yesterday to support the cause of quota reform activists, who have continued with their demonstrations for quota reforms and protest against attacks by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL). BCL activists, who have come under sharp criticism from different quarters for the recent attacks, however, showed no restraint and instead unleashed violence against demonstrators and journalists at Chittagong and Jagannath universities. The vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman, meanwhile came down heavily on the demonstrators, calling them “terrorists” while the government’s quota review committee at its maiden meeting yesterday decided to collect information from abroad to prepare a concrete report. Tariqul Islam Tarek, joint convener of the “Quota Reforms Movement”, who was severely injured in a BCL attack on Rajshahi University (RU) campus, was brought to Dhaka for better treatment.

Around 30-40 university teachers under the banner of “Teachers against Repression” brought out a protest march on DU campus and held a rally at Central Shaheed Minar at noon. The protesters placed their 6-point demands, including publication of gazette notification of quota reforms.

Their other demands included punishment for attackers, withdrawal of false cases against the quota reform movement activists, arrangement of proper treatment of all the victims and the trial of those who had sexually harassed female activists.

DU professor of mass communication and journalism Dr Gitiara Nasreen placed the demands during the rally. Professor Emeritus Sirajul Islam Chowdhury and Prof Asif Nazrul, among others, addressed the rally.

Quota reform activists also joined the teachers from Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Jagannath University, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, Stanford University and Independent University during the rally.

Meanwhile, students of the banking and insurance department of DU formed a human chain to demand unconditional release of Rashed Khan, a student of the department and joint convener of quota reform movement.

Meanwhile, Progressive

Students’ Alliance submitted a memorandum to the DU VC to demand punishment for the responsible Chattra League members.

The VC told journalists that the activities of quota reformist activists were similar to those of terrorists. “My colleagues showed me some videos of Facebook posts uploaded by some quota reform activists. I saw that they were giving instructions like Taliban terrorists from unknown places,” said Prof Akhter.

He added: “I don’t know who are supporting them from behind the scenes, but I hope law enforcers will unearth the plot.”

He also alleged that protesters were using girls like terrorist groups as “we are seeing that some girls are coming out from their halls of residence at night and I think they are being used by vested quarters”.

“They were even creating obstacles to general students from attending classes and this is a big conspiracy. I believe that the protesters are being guided from London,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, the quota review committee has decided to collect relevant information from home and abroad to prepare a concrete report for the government.

After holding first meeting of the seven-member committee, formed on July 2 and headed by the Cabinet Secretary, its member secretary Abul Kashem Md Mohiuddin told reporters that they were collecting necessary information and reports within the shortest possible time for helping to prepare a report in this regard.

He said the holding of the committee’s next meeting will depend on the availably of information on the issue.

Kashem, also the joint secretary (regulation) in the public administration ministry, said, “The protesters have not agreed upon a single demand. They are waging a movement without fully knowing their demands. And that’s why they are asking for different things at different times.”

The government formed the committee on July 2 asking to submit a report within 15 workings days amid anti-quota protests.

 Our RU Correspondent adds: Tariqul Islam Tarek, who was attacked by some BCL activists on Rajshahi University (RU) campus, was taken to Dhaka for his better treatment.

Dr Sayed Rahman, who was attending to the injured student leader, said, “I found no improvement in his health. His leg and waist bones are severely damaged. He needs surgery in his leg. He was transferred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Fatema Khatun, Tarek’s younger sister, said Tk 5000 was needed daily for his treatment, pushing his family towards penury.

In a related development, RU’s Progressive Student Alliance unit submitted a memorandum to pro vice chancellor with four demands—to stop repression of students by BCL men and law enforcers, ensure democratic situation on the campus, to bear financial cost of injured leaders and activists of quota reforms movement, and stop terrorism and campus occupancy by BCL men.

RU pro vice chancellor Professor Dr Ananda Kumar Saha said, “Our vice chancellor is now out of campus and I would sent him the message. He would take the final decision.”

Our CU Correspondent adds: Some BCL activists at Chittagong University allegedly assaulted two activists of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front while they were demanding the publication of a gazette notification on abolishing the quota system in government jobs.

The victims were identified as Fazle Rabby, a master’s student of Chemistry department and also president of CU unit Chhatra Front, and Rajeshwar Das Gupta, a third year student of Economics department of the

university and also a leader of Chhatra Front.

Sources said, Fazle Rabby came under attack in front of BBA faculty by a group of BCL activists while he was going to attend his lecture at around1pm. Rajeshwar was assaulted by another group of BCL in front of Shaheed Minar around 1:20 pm. Later, the CU authorities rescued them and took them to the CU medical centre for treatment.

Besides,Abdullah Raqib, the CU correspondent of online portal, was allegedly attacked by BCL men while he was taking photos of the attacks.

Following this, Chittagong University Journalists’ Association handed over a written complaint to the CU proctor, demanding exemplary punishment for the culprits.

CU proctor Md Ali Asgar Chowdury said, “We have received a written complain regarding the alleged attack on a journalist. We will take steps against the attackers after an investigation.”

UNB adds: At least seven leaders and activists of Progressive Students Alliance (PSA) and five journalists were injured in an attack allegedly by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists during a demonstration at Jagannath University (JnU) yesterday.

Witnesses said the BCL men launched the attack while nearly 50 students under the banner of PSA, a platform of left-leaning student organisations, gathered in front of the university's Shanto Chattar protesting the recent attacks on the quota demonstrators across the country by BCL activists and police.

Five journalists came under the attack while taking photos and video clips of the incident, they said.

The injured journalists are Kabir Hossain (Daily Sun campus correspondent), Ahsan Jubair (Daily Ittefaq correspondent), Latiful Islam (Daily Samakal correspondent), Aslam Arko (Amar Sangbad correspondent) and Sami Sarkar (Banik Barta correspondent).

Meanwhile, JnU Journalist Association submitted an application to JnU Vice-chancellor Pro Dr Mizanur Rahman demanding exemplary punishment of the attackers.

JnU Proctor Noor Mohammad said the attack on journalists is a threat to the freedom of expression. "We'll take necessary steps following investigation."


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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