Teachers of Dhaka University (DU) have formed a human chain on the campus, demanding safety and security of students and teachers.
They formed the human chain under the banner of “Conscious Teachers” at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture on Sunday around 11am.
MM Akash, a professor of economics, presided over the human chain, joined by several hundred students of the university.
Condemning Thursday’s incident when four female students of the university’s Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall were driven out of their dormitory, Akash, also convener of the Pink Panel, an organization of left-leaning teachers at DU, said the authorities had failed to perform their duties in ensuring students’ safety and security.
“Leaders of teachers’ association, whom we voted for, fail to properly perform their responsibilities. Students in different dorms are being forced to take part in political events of certain organizations,” he said, without naming Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League.
The four students were driven out of the dormitory Thursday midnight allegedly for spreading rumours and anti-government propaganda online.
The hall authorities claimed, however, that they brought them back to the dormitory on Friday.
The eviction followed reported assaults by Chhatra League leader Iffat Jahan Isha on students who held demonstrations, seeking reforms to the existing quota scheme in government jobs.
“The [university] authorities should have taken measures to protect the students from being tortured. But they are still in a dilemma over whether they should side with students or work for their personal gains,” Akash commented.
“Despite the university being an autonomous body, the state apparatus swooped on its students, showing a blatant disregard for law.”
Author and columnist Sayad Abul Maksud said: "Women are persecuted in many ways in Bangladesh. But this is the first time women faced discrimination institutionally. What happened to the DU students at midnight is unacceptable."
‘Detain us before detaining our students’
Robayet Ferdous, a professor of mass communication and journalism, said: “If law enforcers are to arrest someone, they should detain us before arresting our students.
“We would continue to support any logical demands of the students. Teachers of this university will surely give an apt response if anyone tries to harass the students.”
Tanzimuddin Khan, an associate professor of International Relations, placed a six-point demand including ensuring security of all students and teachers on the campus.
The other demands include forming a special cell to make sure students are not harassed by security forces or any other organizations, taking legal actions against those who assaulted students during their demonstrations seeking reforms to the quota scheme, ensuring an exemplary punishment of those who carried out the April 9 vandalism inside the vice-chancellor’s residence, heightening security measures in all dormitories at the university, and taking steps to protect and uphold the dignity of teachers and students.
Among others, Prof Asif Nazrul of law department, Prof Tasnim Siddiqui of political science, Prof Sangeeta Ahmed of microbiology and Prof Nasreen Wadud of psychology joined the human chain.