Student protests against sexual harassment rock Chattogram University

Protests have roiled Chattogram University, with demonstrators demanding punishment to the perpetrators of the sexual harassment of a female student on the campus.

Published : 21 July 2022, 01:39 PM
Updated : 21 July 2022, 02:03 PM

The protesters have been demonstrating against the abuse in different parts of the university campus since Thursday morning.

A group of students took out a procession and staged protests in front of the university's Faculty of Science around 11am on Thursday. Students of the chemistry department came out of their classes to join the protests.

Another group of students launched protests demanding a safe campus at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Chattar half an hour later. Hundreds of students demonstrated in front of the Shaheed Minar at the time.

"Several incidents of sexual harassment have taken place on the campus over the last few days. But the authorities took no action," alleged Jahid Sajal, a chemistry department student.

"The administration is trying to cover up the incidents. We’re not safe on our own campus. We want security and justice for the incidents of abuse."

"The university authorities could not identify the criminals even four days after the incident. We want their arrest and punishment as soon as possible," said another protester, Nusrat Jebin Sumaiya, a student at the university's Institute of Modern Language.

Members of Pragatishil Chhatra Jote, an alliance of leftist students, demonstrated at Buddhijibi Prangan at 11am demanding punishment for the abusers.

A female student and her friend were stopped by five strangers while they were returning to the hall from the university's Hotashar Mor area on Jul 17 night. The miscreants forcibly took them to the Botanical Garden and harassed them. They photographed the incident and threatened to spread the photographs on the internet. They tried to rape the girl as well.

The victim lodged a complaint with the administration on Tuesday. Criminal charges were also filed at Hathazari Police Station.

The university then issued a rule, ordering the female students to return to their halls by 10pm every day, further enraging the students.

The authorities later said that it was an old rule which was not being strictly followed due to various reasons, including university shuttle trains arriving late.

A group of students gathered outside Vice-Chancellor Shireen Akhter's residence to protest against the order on Wednesday night. They placed several demands that include;

- Round-the-clock security system for students on the campus,

- Withdrawal of the time limit for entering halls,

- Formation of an “effective” cell by disbanding the existing anti-sexual harassment cell,

- Justice for all the complaints lodged with the cell, and

- Resignation of the university's proctorial body and registrar if they fail to identify and punish the abusers within four days.