What happened at DU’s Begum Sufia Kamal Hall of some days ago leaves us worried to no end. Why did the hall authorities force some students out of the hall in the late hours of the night? It was close to midnight when the guardians of the students were called and asked to take their wards away. The Vice Chancellor of the university has come up with the lame explanation that the students were not expelled but were only handed over to their guardians. In a decent society, no university and no authority of any kind can force students to vacate their residential accommodation on any pretext whatsoever.
There are many reasons to be worried about such bizarre happenings at Sufia Kamal Hall. The role played by the provost of the hall is a very proper subject for thorough investigation, as she is on record as having berated the students over their involvement in the anti-quota movement. There is also the ugly story of the resident Chhatra League leader who assaulted other students and indeed humiliated them publicly before she was expelled by both the university and the BCL. Mysteriously, however, the expulsion orders were withdrawn and she was back at the university. One gets a clear feeling of political partisanship here, behaviour that can only have marred the reputation of Dhaka University. The provost also seized the mobile phones of the students to examine the contents in them, apparently to determine the nature of their involvement in the anti-quota agitation. Under what rule did the hall authorities intrude into the privacy of students, all of whom are adults? The incident demands a proper inquiry.
The image and reputation of Dhaka University has been grossly undermined by the action taken by the authorities of Sufia Kamal Hall against the students. When women students of the residential halls are not allowed to stay outside their halls beyond a specific time, here was an administration ordering some students to leave the hall at the midnight hour, which clearly was a violation of existing rules and for which behaviour the Sufia Kamal Hall authorities need to come up with credible explanations. Indeed, such manifestly inexcusable action must not be pushed under the rug. Dhaka University and all other universities must remain free of partisan politics. It becomes the responsibility of teachers to ensure that nothing is done to tarnish the academic environment at these institutions of higher learning.