Govt alert about goings-on in North South University, says Nahid

The government is ‘alert’ about the situation in the North South University (NSU), a reputed private university some of whose students have got mixed up in terrorist activities, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid has said.

Published : 12 July 2016, 08:39 AM
Updated : 12 July 2016, 01:54 PM

Missing students are found to be getting involved in terrorism, Nahid said at a meeting with the UGC chairman at the Secretariat on Tuesday.

The minister also observed that this trend seemed more pronounced among smart and meritorious students from well-to-do families.

“Such allegations against NSU teachers and students had been made earlier. We are aware of this university. We also held meetings with them earlier.”

The education minister said, “Recent incidents have shocked everyone in a way which the previous ones didn’t because they were considered random.

“It’s not as if we didn’t notice or didn’t discuss them. A teacher was fired from there (NSU).”

Reasons that raised concern

#Two of the five attackers who killed 22 people at an upscale cafe in Dhaka’s Gulshan-2 on July 1 night before being shot dead by army commandos the next morning, were students of NSU and BRAC Universities.

# One of the terrorists who killed two policemen in an attack on a check-post near Sholakia Eidgah ground on July 7 morning, before being shot dead by police, was also an NSU student.

# Three of the cafe attackers and the dead Sholakia attacker, all from wealthy families, had studied at top and expensive English medium schools. All six had been missing for the past several months.

# Seven of the eight persons convicted for the February 2013 murder of blogger and Ganajagaran Mancha activist Ahmed Rajib Haider were also NSU students.

# University Grants Commission (UGC) investigators had found the banned militant outfit Hizb-ut Tahrir’s printed materials in the NSU library last year. Several teachers and students of the university were sacked and rusticated for having alleged militant ties, media reports said.

# At present, there are 95 government-approved private universities in the country. Academic activities are going on in 80 of them. The government and parents have begun to worry after recent investigation findings suggested that students, from affluent families, of these institutions tend to get involved in extremism after running away from home.

# The government has urged parents to inform the authorities about their missing children and any possible ties between them and militant groups. All educational institutions of the country have also been told to submit to the authorities lists of students who have been absent for 10 straight days.

Nurul Islam Nahid said the government had to take ‘stern measures’ in many instances regarding NSU. “Their trustee board was also suspended for some time.”

“... we are trying to take a different approach to tackle militancy.”

He said the government would decide on taking steps regarding the universities after discussions.

The minister stressed reporting students who had missed classes for 10 straight days. “The NSU’s decision to rusticate students if they miss a semester was a ploy to avoid the main issue.”

“This is not enough to address the main issue (students getting involved with militants).”

He urged parents to show a greater sense of responsibility and called for social awareness to prevent youths from joining militant groups.