The eviction of four students from Dhaka University’s (DU) Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall around Thursday midnight appears to be another step in the authorities' move towards vindicating Iffat Jahan Isha, president of the hall unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League.
An audio clip has been obtained by the Dhaka Tribune from the hall. The clip appears to be a recording of Hall Provost Prof Sabita Rezwana Rahman, also a central committee executive member of Bangladesh Juba Mahila League, bashing students for what happened on the night of April 11.
From eyewitness accounts, the time and place of the recording was at the Prodipto Bhaban premises in the hall around 11pm Thursday night.
“The government is looking at these people, and the intelligence cell will look at those who posted misleading information on Facebook to spread confusion about the incidents of that night. And I don’t want any involvement of anyone next time,” Prof Sabita is heard saying.
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Amid ongoing protests on campus against quota reform, Sufia Kamal Hall erupted in chaos on the night of April 11 when rumour spread that Isha had assaulted some protesters. She was allegedly assaulted by the hall's students. A video shows her being paraded with shoes around her neck. DU authorities and Chhatra League expelled her the same night.
She later admitted to authorities she had assaulted some protesters. However, the university and Chhatra League rescinded their expulsions on April 18.
In the audio clip the provost appeared to be saying that students should have taken up the matter with her instead of charging Isha.
“If Chhatra League makes trouble, come to me for justice. If general students make trouble, come to me. From now on, all seats in the hall will be allocated by only the hall authorities. No one will interfere with the seat allocation process,” she said.
“If anyone tries to create chaos in the hall, or if you try to post anything to mislead students, we will take you to the government,” she said.
“Uploading my video without my consent is a crime. When you uploaded my speech, I remained silent. This is a cybercrime… do you understand?”
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Several students are heard in the audio clip telling the provost that not just a handful of students but all residents of the hall were involved in the incident that night.
What the provost says after this appears to show the authorities are determined to take action against students involved in the reported assault on Isha.
Prof Sabita shut the student down, saying: “Two thousand students were not involved. I have CCTV footage showing who was involved. If everybody was involved, get me a signed statement from two thousand girls.”
“I will have all 2,000 girls expelled from the university. Are you willing to attest that you beat her?”
“We have seen the CCTV footage, and it shows that they beat her. What happened that night was nothing but propaganda."
“That girl who got injured admitted that it was only an [accidental] cut. So why was she [Isha] beaten so badly?”