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Teachers express solidarity with quota reform activists

  • Published at 11:47 pm July 19th, 2018
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Teachers of various universities express solidarity with quota reform activists at Dhaka University on Thursday; July 18, 2018 Dhaka Tribune

'The Dhaka University Teachers Association has a glorious history and had contributed much during the Liberation War. But now, they are silent while students are being attacked'

A group of university teachers at a solidarity rally on Thursday protested the attacks on students and teachers at university campuses, and called for justice for the incidents.

They also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of arrested quota reform activists, as well as the implementation of the prime minister's commitment to reform the quota system.

The teachers organised the rally at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture at Dhaka University (DU) in the morning. More than 70 teachers from DU, Jahangirnagar University, Jagannath University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) took part in the rally, along with more than 300 students.

DU mass communication and journalism department Professor Gitiara Nasreen presided over the rally, which was conducted by DU international relations department Associate Professor Tanjim Uddin Khan. 

Describing the current situation as more terrible than the Ayub Khan regime, the formerDU international relations department Prof Akmal Hossain said: "During the Ayub Khan regime, the National Students' Front used hockey sticks to attack students, but they didn't attacked teachers, unlike Chhatra League just a few days ago."

Criticizing the DU teachers' association, he added: "The Dhaka University Teachers Association has a glorious history and had contributed much during the Liberation War. But now, they are silent while students are being attacked."

JU economics department Prof Anu Mohammad said: "The prime minister said she didn't understand why students are demonstrating for quota reform. If she gave just one hour to the students or teachers, then she would understand the logic of the movement."

"The university proctor is protecting Chhatra League, and that cannot be tolerated," he added.

Prof Anu also said: "Without any probe report you are accusing the protesters. There has been no progress in any investigation."

"The vandalism at the DU VC’s residence is an act of sabotage to get the protesters in trouble," the professor claimed. 

Criticizing the government,history department Prof Ahmed Kamal said: "An autocratic government has shame, but this government does not."

"Hitler set fire to parliament to throw off communists.This may be the case withthe attacks on the DU VC’s residence," he added.

The professor urged the university authorities to speak to the students, and for the proctor to forget his history as a Chhatra League man so he could carry out his role properly.

Psychology department Prof Nasreen Wadud said: "I had participated in the movement in 1969 as a Chhatra League activist, and felt proud.Now,the Chhatra League's role hurts me".

Prof CR Abrar of the DU international relations department said: "The quota reform movement is logical, and that is why I have come here of my own volition and expressed solidarity with the reform activists."

"Though we are small in number, we have more moral strength and will stand by the students," he added.

Economics department Prof MM Akash said: "We are seeing a dual administration at the DU. One is the university authority and the other 'administration' is being run by some people who are torturing the general students in the dormitories."

"We are telling the university administration, if you fail to control the torture by the 'alternative administration,' you have no right to hold power. You must resign," he added.

"It is shameful for us that teachers are being assaulted when they went to protect students, so this 'shadow administration' must be removed from the university," hefurther said.

Urging that theDhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) polls be held, he stressed the need to bring “fair politics” back to the university.

Mass communication and journalism department Prof Fahmidul Haq said: "We have faced criticism, slander and threats for supporting the quota reform movement and protesting attacks on students. We want a congenial environment for education on the campus, and we will stand alongside the students till the repression ends."

Prof Gitiara Nasreen in her speech demanded that those who attacked students be brought to justice, the release of arrested quota reform activists, a stop to threats against teachers and students, and the issuing of a gazette notification in line with the prime minister’s commitment to abolish the quota system.

The procession paraded through important streets of the campus and ended by the Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture.