Jahangirnagar University shuts as BCL activists attack protesters

Jahangirnagar University has shut down for an indefinite time after activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League attacked protesters who called for Vice-Chancellor Farzana Islam to resign.

Jahangirnagar University Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 5 Nov 2019, 09:31 AM
Updated : 5 Nov 2019, 02:26 PM

Students were ordered to leave their dormitories by 5:30pm on Tuesday, according to JU’s acting Registrar Rahima Kaneez.

"The decision has been taken at an urgent syndicate meeting due to the prevailing situation,” she told bdnews24.com.

At least 25 JU teachers and students were injured in the attacks launched by BCL activists on Tuesday during a protest in front of the VC’s residence. They also assaulted four journalists.

Of the injured, eight were admitted to Savar’s Enam Medical College and Hospital, and the others received first-aid at the university’s medical centre, according to Dr Rezawanur Rahman of the centre.

Prof Sayeed Ferdous and Prof Mirza Taslima Sultana, both teachers of anthropology, Prof Raihan Raine of philosophy, Prof Abdur Razzak of zoology, Assistant Professor Khandakar Hasan Mahmud of geography and environment, Prof Shamima Sultana of Bangla Department were among the injured teachers.

The injured students were Maruf Mozammel, Mahathir Muhammad, Saimum Islam, Rakibul Islam Rony and Alif Mahmud, Rudro Nil and Soumik Bagchi.

The student protesters took position in front of the VC’s residence around 7pm on Monday, demanding her resignation over allegations of corruption.

The clash erupted at 11:15pm on Tuesday when teachers and staff loyal to the VC came to her house. Later, a procession led by the BCL unit’s President Jewel Rana arrived on the scene amid simmering tensions. 

The BCL activists roughed up the protesters and drove them away, but police allegedly remained silent.

"Chhatra League attacked us in the presence of teachers loyal to the vice-chancellor. This is an unprecedented attack by the Chhatra League on teachers. When the BCL launched the attack on us, they clapped,” said Prof Khobir Uddin, a teacher of anthropology.

Asked about the attack, Rana alleged that the students who launched protests against the VC are Shibir activists. “We want a Shibir-free campus.”

Rejecting Rana’s allegations, Prof Raihan said, “There is no involvement of Shibir in the protest. It’s a common tendency to blame Shibir to thwart any protest. BUET's Abrar was killed in a similar manner, and they also made the same excuse.”

Many of the protesters injured in the attacks are known faces of leftist politics on the campus, he said.

Hours after the clashes, VC Farzana Islam said: “What has happened cannot be called an attack. They were just physically injured. They also pushed our girls and teachers. We were shocked that they hurled abusive language at us.”

Asked to comment on the Jamaat-e-Islami's links to the protest, she said: “I won’t investigate the matter alone. The government should also investigate the matter.”

The agitated students have been demonstrating on the campus since August, demanding a judicial probe into the allegations of corruption and irregularities that took place before the approval of some construction projects of the university.