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JU students, teachers protest for day 3

  • Published at 12:26 pm September 5th, 2019
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File photo: Teachers and students of Jahangirnagar University (JU) close the institution's administrative buildings on Thursday, September 5, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Administrative operations at JU comes to a standstill for the third day

A group of students and teachers of Jahangirnagar University (JU) have been protesting in front of the administrative buildings for the third consecutive day, demonstrating against vice-chancellor’s alleged corruptions.

The protestors are demanding for planned development and for the formation of a judicial probe committee to look into allegations of corruptions and irregularities, involving a project worth Tk1,445 crore.

The protestors started the protest around 7:30am on Thursday, by blockading the new and old administrative buildings of the university.

The teachers and students have been protesting under the banner "Jahangirnagar Against Corruption."

University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Farzana Islam, on Wednesday, had told Dhaka Tribune that she would sit with the protestors on Thursday.

She said: "We will arrange a sit down to talk to the protestors by tomorrow [Thursday] morning. The demands are going to be difficult to implement. However, with considerations from both sides, I hope we can come to an understanding."

‘No meetings with accused VC’

However, the agitating students-teachers refused to hold talks under the vice-chancellor’s supervision. 

University’s Philosophy Department Associate Professor Rayhan Rhyne, one of the main convenors of the protests, said: “As the vice-chancellor herself is accused, therefore, we will not sit in any meeting under her supervision.”

He said: “We will only sit for talks, if someone from the government is made an executive head of a probe to investigate the matter; the person could be a representative of the chancellor, University Grants Commission member or a top level official from the Education Ministry.”

Due to the blockade, the administrative operations of the university came to a standstill for the third day.

On Wednesday, University’s administrative authorities arrived at the spot to talk to the protestors on two occasions. However, they had to return on both accounts as the two parties could not come to an agreement.

Allegations against JU VC

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’s unit if 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 cut.

Prof Rayhan said:  "If the allegations proved to be true, then the accused must be brought to justice and the project has to be adjusted to meet all the requirements of the master plan."