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DU students protest bureaucrat’s remark on milk research

  • Published at 12:10 am July 12th, 2019
DU protests-Milk Research-Dhaka Tribune
DU teachers and students hold human chain at the base of Aparajeo Bangla under the banner 'Students of Dhaka University' on the campus on Thursday Dhaka Tribune

Earlier on July 9, Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Additional Secretary Kazi Wasi Uddin threatened legal action against researchers who claimed to have found antibiotics in pasteurized milk of different popular brands

Several Dhaka University (DU) students have protested the comment of a top bureaucrat from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock regarding the university’s research on different food products including pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.

Four DU teachers and several students made the protests while holding a human chain at the base of Aparajeo Bangla under the banner “Students of Dhaka University” on the campus on Thursday.

“I express solidarity with the students as the dean of the faculty. The remark made by the additional secretary of fisheries and livestock ministry on the research conducted by DU teachers is ignominious,” said DU Dean of Pharmacy Faculty Dr SM Abdur Rahman

Earlier on July 9, Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Additional Secretary Kazi Wasi Uddin threatened legal action against researchers who claimed to have found antibiotics in pasteurized milk of different popular brands.

Complaining that DU researchers did not follow “protocol” while publishing the findings, Wasi Uddin also said: “Bring the publication to the ministry within a week if you have published the findings in peer-reviewed journal. Otherwise, legal action will be taken against you on behalf of the ministry.”

At the human chain protest, Dr SM Abdur Rahman expressed concern over the threats on the teachers saying such actions would discourage faculty members.

“How can the university teachers continue any research for public interest if they are threatened from government high-ups? Another research is necessary to testify the research led by ABM Faroque,” he added.

“No one can make any comment without proving it wrong. A teacher knows better how to conduct a research than a government bureaucrat,” he added.

“Conducting research is one of the vital duties of teachers. But it is not right to make controversial comments against them for the sake of own interest. We want his (additional secretary) punishment immediately,” said Chayan Barua, a fourth year student of Microbiology department.

On June 25, a group of teachers at the university’s Faculty of Pharmacy came up with the findings of their study.

They conducted the tests on samples of the products at the university’s Biomedical Research Centre and laboratories of the faculty, the centre’s director and pharmaceutical technology teacher Professor ABM Faroque had said then.

On June 27, State Minister for Rural Development and Cooperatives Division Swapan Bhattacharjee termed the DU study on government-run Milk Vita as false and told parliament that no traces of formalin or arsenic have been found in Milk Vita’s liquid milk. 

On June 30, chairmen of four departments under Faculty of Pharmacy declared they were not part of the research rather that was an independent research by ABM Faroque.