Some of the prominent personalities who signed the statement are Dhaka University Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Human Rights activists Sultana Kamal, Hamida Hossain, Khushi Kabir, Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Photographer Shahidul Alam and Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Sara Hossain
Eminent personalities in the country including professors, professionals, and social activists have put out a statement supporting the ongoing protest and valid demands of Jhanginagar University teachers and students.
The statement was signed by 70 prominent people on Wednesday.
Some of the prominent personalities who signed the statement are Dhaka University Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury, Human Rights activists Sultana Kamal, Hamida Hossain, Khushi Kabir, Gonoshasthaya Kendra Founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Photographer Shahidul Alam and Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Sara Hossain.
The statement said the mega projects taken for the development of the university must be transparent, environment friendly, corruption and violence free.
The statement read: “We feel concerned to see that the teachers and students of Jhanginagar University were not consulted to review the projects and no provisions were made to include their suggestions.”
If it is proved that the allegations regarding the development projects are true, it would be undemocratic and undesired, the statement added.
“We demand proper investigation of the distribution Tk2 crore from the project money and also the several attacks made on students during their peaceful protest.
“We hope that the Tk1,445 crore mega project will be completed without any irregularities, corruption and wasting of money,” the statement said.
What caused the outrage?
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved Tk1,445 crore on October 23, last year, for further development of Jhangirnagar University.
In the first phase of the project, the university administration called for tenders on May 1 this year, for the construction of six residential halls. The cost of constructing these halls was estimated to be around Tk400 crore.
However, there was an outrage on August 25, as news spread that the university VC Prof Farzana Islam was involved in corruption, and was accused of distributing around Tk2 crore among three factions of the Chhatra League unit at the university from the project fund.
Students and teachers of the university, which is renowned for its forestry, were also protesting the government-approved development project, for which 1,150 trees need to be felled.
The university’s Philosophy Department Associate Professor Rayhan Rhyne, one of the main convenors of the protests, said: “As the vice-chancellor, she, herself is accused, therefore, we will not sit at any meeting under her supervision.”
Prof Rayhan said: "If the allegations are proved to be true, then the accused must be brought to justice and the project should to be adjusted to meet all the requirements of the master plan."