Student suicide

JnU teacher suspended, dept chair removed as protests on

JnU teacher suspended, dept chair removed as protests on

A film and television department teacher of Jagannath University was suspended and the chairman of the same department was relieved from duty on Thursday over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct as protests raged on at the institution.

The decisions were taken at an urgent syndicate meeting held at the university on the day.

Meanwhile, protests for justice over the death of the institution’s student Fairuz Abontika by suicide continued for the sixth day running on Thursday.

On the day, students under the banner of ‘Jagannath University against oppression’ submitted a memorandum to vice-chancellor professor Sadeka Halim, demanding establishment of democratic environment on the campus to ensure safety of the students.

Abontika, a 13th batch law student, committed suicide at her village home in Cumilla on the night of March 15 after posting a status on her Facebook account, holding classmate Raihan Siddique Amman and university’s assistant proctor Din Islam responsible for her death.

In the post, she brought allegations of sexual harassment against her classmate Amman and accused Din Islam of verbally abusing her in favour of Amman.

Soon after her death, the students across the country started protests demanding justice for Abontika.

Amid the protests, the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Wednesday spoke to the university’s film and television department lecturer Abu Shahed Emon and chairman Junayed Halim over alleged sexual harassment of a female student of the department.

She recently brought allegations of sexual harassment against them and alleged that both the teachers marked her as absent and intentionally gave zero in examinations.

University proctor professor Md Jahangir Hussain told New Age on Thursday that at an urgent syndicate meeting chaired by the VC, decisions were taken to suspend lecturer Abu Shahed Emon and relieve department chairman Junayed Halim of his duty.

The decisions were taken following a recent allegation of sexual harassment, he added.

The protesting students demanded stern action against the newly accused ones.

‘Allegations against Abu Shahed Emon are not new,’ said Shariful Islam Sabit, a student of the same department, who added that the university authorities turned a deaf ear to complaints brought against him so far.

The protesting students have raised a five-point demand—conduct a judicial probe to identify those responsible for Abontika’s suicide and exemplary punishment for them; make the university’s anti-sexual harassment cell effective; carry out speedy probe and ensure justice for all earlier allegations of sexual harassment; institute probe against the previous proctorial body and take action against those responsible for failure in taking action; and build two permanent monuments to commemorate the victims of sexual harassment.

On Thursday, the Samajik Protirodh Committee, a platform of non-governmental organisations working on human rights, held a press conference at the national press club protesting at the incidents of sexual harassment at different universities, including Jagannath University.  

Such incidents occurring at the highest seats of education sounds the alarm bell for all, they said. 
On Wednesday, Raihan Siddique Amman was sent to jail, while Din Islam was denied bail in the case filed over allegations of provoking Abontika to commit suicide.

A Cumilla court, on March 18, placed Amman and Din Islam on two-day and one-day remand respectively after they were detained on March 16.

The university authorities on March 16 suspended both the accused assistant proctor and the student and also formed a probe committee.

A judicial magistrate court in Cumilla on Tuesday sent Din Islam to jail.