Police are now saying only the university administration can withdraw the case
Contrary to Jahangirnagar University (JU) vice chancellor’s claims that the police was the plaintiff in the case filed against 50 student protesters for vandalism, police are saying the university administration is the complainant and only they can withdraw it.
JU Registrar Abu Bakar Siddique filed the case on behalf of the college administration, according to Ashulia police and the case’s lawyers.
However, when students asked the university administration to withdraw the case, the administration repeatedly insisted that the police had filed the case and therefore the administration could not withdraw it.
In response to the students’ hunger strike, on Sunday Vice Chancellor Farzana Islam told the Bangla Tribune: “The case is in the hand of the government now. The university administration no longer has jurisdiction on it.”
On the other hand, Officer-in-Charge of Ashulia police station Abdul Awal said: “Usually the complainant is the plaintiff for the case. Since the JU registrar, Abu Bakar Siddique, filed the case, he is also the plaintiff, not the police. If they want to withdraw the case, they will have to take the necessary legal steps.”
On May 26, two students named Nazmul Hasan Rana and Mehedi Hasan Arafat died in a road accident on the Dhaka-Aricha highway. On May 27, students demanded compensation for their families and to improve safety, while obstructing the roads. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the students in the evening. In response, students vandalised the VC’s house. Some professors claimed that they were harassed during this time. A case was filed against some 50 students. At midnight, 42 students were arrested by the police, who were later released on bail.
Students also brought out a silent procession on July 11 and staged a human chain on July 9 demanding the withdrawal of the case.
On May 28, while speaking at a press conference at her house, VC Farzana Islam said that it was no longer possible to withdraw the case. The next day, the Shikkhak-Shikkharthi Oikya Moncho, a platform of JU students and teachers, delivered a five day ultimatum to the VC to withdraw the case. In response, the VC said: “In order to withdraw the case, we will have to consult the syndicate and legal consultants.”
But on June 17, at the annual senate session, VC Farzana Islam delivered a written statement saying that the syndicate meeting filed a complaint and the police filed a case based on the information.
Since then, the university administration has claimed that the police or the state is the plaintiff for the case.
According to administrative sources, at a recent meeting between the administration and the heads of departments, the VC and registrar insisted that the police was the plaintiff for the case and not the university administration. The case has claimed damages of Tk1 lakh.
The court has asked for an investigation report on August 7 from Ashulia police Inspector Jahidul Islam, the investigating officer on the case.
Lawyer for the defendants M Nur Uddin said: “The university’s Registrar Abu Bakar Siddique is the plaintiff for the case. To withdraw the case, both parties will have to appeal through the investigating officer to the police station or to the court and submit a statement of settlement.”
When contacted on Monday morning, Abu Bakar Siddique denied being the plaintiff for the case, and said that the state was the plaintiff. He refused to comment any further.
Assistant Professor for the Philosophy Department and spokesperson for the Shikkhak-Shikkharthi Oikya Moncho Professor Raihan Rayne told the Bangla Tribune: “No matter who the plaintiff is, if the university administration gives their permission, the case can be withdrawn. But they are not willing to do so, they have held on to their anger. They have no concern for the environment at the university.”