Rajshahi University (RU) administration suspended a syndicate meeting yesterday, after a hostile incident involving the university’s teachers and Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) took place. During the incident, a number of teachers said they were harassed.
The syndicate meeting, which was supposed to be the last meeting of RU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof M Abdus Sobhan’s tenure, was scheduled to be held at the VC’s residence around 10:30am yesterday.
Members of RU Progressive Teachers’ Society Against Corruption, however, took position near the residence in the morning to halt the syndicate meeting. They said they feared “illegal” recruitment would take place during the meeting.
Meanwhile, around 100 current and former leaders of BCL also took position in front of the residence.
As the teachers tried to enter the residence to meet the VC around 10:30am, the BCL men barred and harassed them in front of police and the university’s proctorial body. Proctor Prof Lutfor Rahman was also harassed in the mob, as he tried to intervene, teachers said.
During that time, a BCL youth shouted at the teachers, saying “we will shoot you”, which then created an hostile situation involving the teachers and BCL men, they said.
Around 11am, after the incident, the university authority was forced to suspend the meeting. Earlier on Sunday, a finance committee meeting was also suspended in the same way.
Talking about the matter in a press conference held after the incident, Prof Shafikunnabi Samadi said the VC is responsible for the incident. No one would have the courage to threaten university teachers like this, if the VC worked for betterment of the university.
Prof Sultan ul Islam, convener of Teachers’ Society against Corruption, said, “We had information that the VC would illegally recruit some 150 peoples on ad-hoc basis through this meeting. To discuss the matter, when we tried to enter the VC’s residence, they [BCL men] harassed us in front of the proctor and police officials.”
Teachers from the conference demanded authorities concerned remove the administration as soon as possible and take legal actions against them.
Talking to The Daily Star, RU Registrar Prof Abdus Salam said the meeting was suspended for unavoidable reasons. In a reply, Prof Salam said, “We did not have any agenda regarding any recruitment in the meeting.”
Terming the incident as “unexpected”, Proctor Prof Lutfor said, “We had instructed police officials to control the situation, but it happened so quickly.”
The VC could not be contacted over phone despite repeated attempts. His term as VC will expire on May 6, as he was appointed for four years on May 7, 2017.
This correspondent tried to get a reply from BCL activists, but they refused to comment on the matter.
Mentionable, on December last year, following a probe report of University Grants Commission, the government postponed all recruitment process to the university until further notice. Since then, the authority could not recruit anyone to any post.