Protesters to submit evidence to authorities on Friday and continue protest on campus demanding the VC’s removal
Amid ongoing demonstrations on campus, the agitating teachers and students of Jahangirnagar University (JU) have claimed that there are plenty of evidence of corruption against Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Farzana Islam.
Talking to reporters on Thursday, Philosophy Department teacher Prof Rayhan Rhyne said that there were enough evidence of corruption against the VC available to start an investigation.
Rhyne, spokesperson and coordinator of “Jahangirnagar against Corruption” — the platform which has been spearheading the protests over the past two weeks, made the claim in reaction to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s warning that the protesters would face punishments if they fail to provide information and prove the graft allegations.
“We have been demanding a probe since the protests begun. But the VC decided against it at a meeting between us and the administration in September, because that would have exposed her misdeeds. That decision made us more confident about our suspicions,” Prof Rayhan said.
He said that many of those who were involved with her in sharing illegal money have already admitted what happened. “Besides that, we think the reports many newspapers have run over the misappropriation of funds are enough as evidence to conduct a preliminary investigation.”
He said they were surprised that the government did not take them into account and launched a probe. “The VC has already lost the moral ground to hold her post, and a neutral and independent probe will make that evident.”
Prof Rayhan later told Dhaka Tribune that they would submit the list of corruption allegations and evidence to the University Grants Commission and the Education Ministry on Friday.
The evidence include documents and audio clips related to the corruption allegations against the VC, he added.
Over the past week, both the education minister and the deputy education minister had urged the protesting teachers and students to submit all their accusations in written form to the authorities, saying steps would be taken against the VC if they were proved.
Shovon Rahman, organizing secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front’s JU unit, also told reporters on Thursday: “We have urged Prof Farzana Islam many times to prove her innocence by allowing an investigation into the allegations, but she lacks the spine for that. Instead, Chhatra League attacked us.”
Addressing the VC, he said: “Leave your chair, and let the university run smoothly. Otherwise, you will be held responsible for the impasse at the university."
The protests at JU had intensified over the past two weeks, during which the protesters were also attacked by Chhatra League men once.
Defying the authorities’ decision to close the university indefinitely and ban all types of mass gatherings on campus, the students and teachers have been staging sit-in protests in front of the VC’s residence for the past four days, demanding her removal over the corruption allegations.
After peacefully demonstrating throughout Thursday, hundreds of students and teachers brought out a procession from the old administration building and marched to the VC’s residence, to which they went on to lay a siege, in the evening.
The protesters then organized a concert in front of the house, which is under several layers of police cordon.
The day’s protest, however, ended around 9pm, when the protesters also announced that they would resume the demonstrations at 11am today in front of old administration building.
Meanwhile, JU’s acting proctor ASM Firoz Ul Hasan told reporters that they have already closed the dormitories and suspended classes and exams after the university was closed indefinitely.
“Students have already left halls. In this situation, if anyone tries to create untoward situation that will be an anti-disciplinary move,” he warned adding that the authorities will take steps as the situation demands.