POST TIME: 30 September, 2019 09:40:35 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 30 September, 2019 11:18:12 AM
‘Jai Hind’ slogan of RU VC evokes sharp protests

‘Jai Hind’ slogan of RU VC evokes sharp protests

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The vice-chancellor (VC) of Rajshahi University (RU), Prof. Dr M Abdus Sobhan, came in for sharp criticism after he uttered ‘Jai Hind’ during his speech at a conference on Thursday.

The VC uttered the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ after saying ‘Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu’ at an open discussion meeting where more than 200 teachers, researchers and academics of different universities were present.

Even University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Prof. Dr Kazi Shahidullah was present as the chief guest at the programme. Also present was the assistant high commissioner of India in Rajshahi, Sanjeev Kumar Bhati, while RU pro-VC Prof. Dr Ananda Kumar Saha and pro-VC Prof.

Dr Chawdury Md Zakaria were present as special guests. Students, teachers and various other quarters sharply criticised the VC’s comment.  The incident has gone viral on social media and has become the talk of the town among common people across Bangladesh. Teachers and students who witnessed the programme condemned his speech, saying: “How is it possible for him to say such a thing as a vice-chancellor of an independent country?” They added, “He has ethically no right to stay in his position on their campus.”

The RU’s history department and Mass History Centre had jointly organised a three-day-long programme at the university’s Tazuddin Senate Building. The programme was titled ‘Education: From the Perspective of a People’s State’. The RU VC was the president at the programme.

Different quarters and organisations on the campus have issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the VC to apologise for his slogan. Different organisations and noted persons put posts condemning the comment on their respective Facebook walls.  A pro-BNP teachers forum and its students’ wing, the Jatiyabadi Chhatra Dal, different Left-leaning student organisations, a quota reformation body, and the RUCSU Andalan Mancha, also launched different programmes today (Monday) condemning his comment.

Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Songrokkhon Parishad, a platform of quota reform activists, the Bangladesh Chhatra Federation, a Left-leaning students’ organisation, and the RUCSU Andalan Mancha, all issued a 24-hour ultimatum in separate press releases seeking his apology for his comments. They also submitted separate memoranda to the university VC’s office and other offices on the campus.

Ronju Hasan, general secretary of Biplobi Chhatra Moitree, yesterday said, “His (VC’s) speech is against the constituency of Bangladesh and he cannot make this as a university vice-chancellor living in our country. Condemning his speech, we will launch a demonstration programme on the campus on Monday. We hope the students will participate with us to express their protests.”

Faisal Ahmed Runu, the general secretary of the RU unit of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the students’ wing of the ruling Awami League (AL), said, “The vice-chancellor is a very scholarly person with different sectors of knowledge. He may know why he gave the slogan and in which context. I think his speech did not ignore Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and our country’s independence.”

The convener of Sadharan Chhatra Odhikar Songrokkhon Parishad of the RU, Masud Munnaf, said, “We condemn the incident and have issued a 24-hour ultimatum to reject his given speech. After the stipulated deadline, we will take the next decision.”

 The convener of the RU unit of a pro-BNP teachers’ organisation, ‘White Panel’, Prof. Dr Enamul Hoque, said, “His speech was given to please to India, which is unexpected from him as the RU vice-chancellor. Ethically, he has no right to stay on in this post. We condemn his speech and demand his immediate removal from the post.”

Prof. Dr Saiful Islam Faruquee, the president of the RU Teachers’ Association (RUTA), said, “As we did not take any decision on the matter at our (RUTA) meeting, I wouldn’t say anything. But I personally say he cannot make such a comment while living in an independent country.

This much we can say for him: the VC is mentally disabled and he needs to consult a doctor as soon as possible for treatment of his mental condition.”

It was not possible to reach Prof. Dr M Abdus Sobhan as he did not receive calls on his mobile phone though several attempts were made to reach him. However, assistant register Narayon Chanda Barmon of the VC’s office said, “The vice-chancellor Sir is at a meeting. He has been informed about the matter.” He refused to say anything further.

University proctor Prof. Dr Luthfor Rahman said, “I was not present at the conference and so I don’t know what he said. I was informed about the matter through social media.”