The Dhaka University (DU) authorities on Friday issued a show-cause notice to 25 female students of the university’s Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall after “finding their involvement” in the alleged harassment of a Bangladesh Chhatra League leader during a student movement seeking reforms to the existing quota scheme in government jobs.
In the notice, DU Proctor, Prof AKM Golam Rabbani, ordered them to come up with a "satisfactory response" to the notice within two weeks.
University authorities will take action against the students if they fail to respond within the stipulated timeframe, the notice reads.
On the night of April 11, several hundred students of the dormitory burst into anger and reportedly harassed Iffat Jahan Isha, president of the Sufia Kamal Hall unit of the ruling Awami League’s student front, after allegations surfaced on the media that Isha cut the tendons of a female student and tortured several others for taking part in the movement.
A video clip showed the aggrieved students putting a garland of shoes on Isha’s neck.
Following the allegations, Isha was removed from her post and expelled from the Awami League’s student wing. She was also expelled from the university.
Chhatra League, however, reinstated her in the post within 48 hours of expulsion, saying the allegations against her were proven “baseless.”
The DU authorities also followed suit and withdrew the expulsion order, giving Isha back her studentship.
They also dismissed the allegations as “rumors spread to trigger violence and destabilize the university campus.”
In the show-cause notice, the authorities asked the 25 students to explain why action should not be taken against them as recommended by the university’s syndicate and disciplinary board.
The move has caused anger and fear among their fellow demonstrators at the dormitory.
“I was not involved in the harassment of Isha. I tried to rescue and protect her from aggrieved students. But, I have been served a notice,” a student told the Dhaka Tribune on condition of anonymity.
The notice was issued only to harass those who took part in the movement, she alleged.
Proctor Rabbani refuted the allegation and said “it is a normal procedure of our university. We will pursue necessary actions after receiving their response.”
Meanwhile, quota reformists and students associated with the Bangladesh General Students' Rights Protection Council announced they would hold a press conference in front of the university’s central library on Saturday at 12pm, to clarify their stance in connection with the notice.