He was suspended on April 2, 2018 after facing widespread protest by the ruling party’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League
BNP-backed Dhaka University (DU) teacher Prof Morshed Hasan Khan, of the marketing department, has been terminated from his job.
DU Syndicate – the highest governing body of the university – with DU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman in the chair, made this decision on Wednesday.
Morshed wrote an article on the occasion of Independence Day in 2018, which reportedly defamed Bangabandhu, along with contempt of constitution, and allegedly distorted the history of the 1971 Liberation War.
He was suspended on April 2, 2018 after facing widespread protest by the ruling party’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League.
Attorney General and also DU Syndicate member Mahbubey Alam recommended a three-member tribunal regarding Morshed’s termination.
Two other members again made recommendations to the DU Syndicate for his removal.
Wednesday’s Syndicate meeting was attended by 14 members where all voted unanimously on the tribunal’s recommendation for the termination of Morshed, except for the only BNP-backed syndicate member Prof Md Hasanuzzaman, confirmed one of the Syndicate member and Associate Professor Mohammad Humayun Kabir.
Prof Hasanuzzaman, a syndicate member and dean of Engineering and Technology faculty issued a note of dissent, he added.
Meanwhile, the BNP-backed White Panel teachers of DU issued a statement condemning the decision, stating that Prof Morshed was terminated just because he is a follower of a different political party and views.
“Terminating him from the university is an unprecedented example although he expressed sorrow and sought apology for the unwanted remarks made in the article and the article was withdrawn,” the statement signed by Prof ABM Obaidul Islam convener of the panel, added.
Referring to DU order 1973, they said article 56 of the order said that a teacher can be terminated if his offences – related to moral degradation or incapability – is proved, but Prof Morshed is not accused in any of the aforementioned allegations. Also, article 56 (2) gives the teachers the right to exercise politics or freedom of expression.
Morshed in his article “Jyotirmoy Zia,” published on March 26, 2018 in a national daily, claimed Ziaur Rahman, founder of BNP, was the man who declared independence during the Liberation War and also claimed that Awami League leaders including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman left the country during the time, leaving the country in turmoil.
Prof Morshed cited a number of former Indian politicians, including Indira Gandhi and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, to support his claims. The article was published in the Bangla daily newspaper Naya Diganta.
Soon after the article was published, leaders and activists of Chhatra League protested in the DU campus the very next day.
The Chhatra League men staged a demonstration on the campus demanding punishment of the teacher and declaring him as a “persona non grata” on the campus on March 27, 2018.
They also submitted a memorandum to the vice-chancellor urging the authorities to take immediate actions against him.
Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) in a statement also demanded legal actions against the professor.
Following the protest, Morshed in a Facebook post issued an apology in this regard. Naya Diganta also removed the article from their website.
Prof Morshed is the assistant training affairs secretary of the Executive Committee of BNP.
However, Dhaka Tribune found a version of the article that was earlier published in the daily Jaijaidin on January 19.
In this earlier version, there was no mention of who declared independence or about Bangabandhu’s escape, and the citations from former Indian politicians were also missing.
When contacted in 2018, Prof Morshed Hasan Khan told this correspondent he had sent the same version of the story to both Naya Diganta and Jaijaidin on the same day, however, the Naya Diganta may have saved the story to publish it on Independence Day.
He furthered that the current situation had arisen as a result of a misunderstanding between him and the newspapers.
“I have already withdrawn the article, and had no intention to humiliate him [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman],” Prof Morshed added in 2018.
The DU Syndicate on Wednesday also asked the DU Treasurer to prepare a requisition list of all departments, regarding how much aid will be needed to connect all the underprivileged students in the online classes program and granted most of the sections of newly prepared “online class guideline.”