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Why were DU Sufia Kamal Hall students evicted at midnight?

  • Published at 05:02 pm April 20th, 2018
  • Last updated at 10:22 pm April 20th, 2018
Why were DU Sufia Kamal Hall students evicted at midnight?
Dhaka University’s (DU) Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall authorities evicted four resident students from the dormitory around midnight, Thursday. Hall authorities say the students were involved in “spreading fake news” during the quota reform movement on the night of April 11. However, an audio recording of the provost's meeting with students in the hall suggests the action was against those involved in a fight with Chhatra League President Iffat Jahan Isha on that night. Kamrunnahar Liza of the theatre department and Farhin of the Mathematics department were ‘handed over’ to their local guardians around 10:30pm Thursday. Sharmin Akter Shuvo of the math department was seen coming out from the hall along with her local guardian around 12am early Friday. Neither would speak to reporters.
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The identity of another student who left the hall around 12:15am on a motorcycle with another person could not be determined. One father who convinced the hall authorities to keep the student, said she had been warned “not to take part in any kind of movement again.” Liza was earlier expelled by Chhatra League. According to university rules, resident female students are not allowed to go outside the hall after 9:30pm. Under special circumstances this can be extended to 10pm at most. [caption id="attachment_260244" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Dhaka University student Sharmin Akter Shuvo being taken away by her local guardian from Sufia Kamal Hall on Thursday night Dhaka Tribune[/caption] The person who took Sharmin Akter Shuvo from the hall said the provost had forbidden them to say anything. Seeking anonymity, some students of the hall said authorities had started threatening them from 5:30pm. They also said the hall authorities summoned eight students to the dorm office and seized their mobile phones. The authorities then started calling their local guardians to pick them up. Journalists tried contacting the students but house tutors were receiving the phone calls and saying the students were unavailable. Md Faruk Hawlader, father of Physics student Rimi, before entering the hall around 12:30am to receive his daughter, said: “The hall authorities called me around 8pm, said my daughter won’t be allowed to stay in the hall, and asked me to take her away.” “I came from Dhamrai in the rain. I told the lady who called me about the bad weather, but she didn’t pay any heed to me and told me to come as soon as possible. I do not know why she is being driven out,” he told reporters at the hall gate.
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He came out after 30 minutes alone and tried to avoid reporters. When journalists surrounded him, he said: “I cannot say anything as the hall authorities have told me not to talk to journalists.” “They are forgiving my daughter for the last time and said if she joins any kind of movement again, they will throw her out,” Faruk added. Seeking anonymity, a Sufia Kamal Hall staff said several other students had also been thrown out in a similar manner starting Friday afternoon. The Dhaka Tribune has been unable to verify this claim.

'They spread rumors on the night of April 11'

DU Proctor AKM Golam Rabbani said: “The students were not thrown out of the hall. They were just handed over to their guardians.” When asked why this happened after midnight, he said: “You should ask the hall provost, not me.” Hall Provost Sabita Rezwana Rahman told reporters over the phone: “We are checking mobile phones of students who opened fake accounts on Facebook and spread rumors on April 11.” Then she hung up and did not pick up the phone again. After a police crackdown on quota reform demonstrators at Dhaka University on the evening of April 8, the campus turned into a battlefield during the night. Past midnight, a large mob vandalized the vice-chancellor’s residence. [caption id="attachment_260292" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A handful of Dhaka University students brings out a torch procession at the university campus on Friday; April 20, 2018 Dhaka Tribune[/caption] A day later, in the early hours of April 11, rumours spread that Chhatra League President of Sufia Kamal Hall, Iffat Jahan Isha, had cut the tendons of a female student for being part of the protest. Isha was expelled from Chhatra League and the university. DU authorities said she had admitted to assaulting three quota reform protesters, but the tendon-cutting was a rumour. Both the university and Chhatra League later reinstated her.
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Dhaka Tribune has collected an audio clip from the hall, where Professor Sabita is heard saying she has CCTV footage of the attack on Iffat Jahan Isha. Quota reform protesters gathered in front of the hall gate and demanded the resignation of hall Provost Sabita. Joint convener of the movement, Nurul Haque Nur, announced a 4pm Friday protest rally under banner of the Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, at all colleges and universities around the country, and centrally in front of DU Central Library. Convener of the movement, Hasan Al Mamun, said: “The hall authorities took the decision without any investigation or discussion with us.” He condemned the role of the hall authorities and demanded the resignation of the provost, urging the university to ensure the security of quota reform protesters.