Saturday 3, June 2023

Families demand ‍suspension withdrawal of 12 JnU students, release from jail

Time Digital Report:The families of 12 students of Jagannath University (JnU) demanded release of their children from jail and withdrawal of a university administration suspension order.

They made their demands at a press conference at the Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB) auditorium on Tuesday.

Nurjahan Begum, mother of Mehedi Hasan, a student of the Public Administration Department at JnU, said that the team of Kotwali police took away 12 students, including newly enrolled students, from a rented mess in Old Dhaka on 24 March in the mid night while they were in sleeping.

Law enforcement initially denied their arrest. They later showed the students arrested in a case filed under the Special Powers Act. The arrested students were remanded in custody for three days on a court order.

According to the case statement, the arrested students had allegedly tarnished the country's image and were trying to destabilize the country by chanting anti-government slogans and displaying placards at a procession against commodity prices hike.

After their arrest and remand, the university administration suspended 11 students from Jagannath University until further notice. The university authority did not yet receive any final police charge sheet of the students involvement of the allegedly involvement.

"Police have no evidence that any of the students took part in the procession. Merely on suspicion, police picked them up from a mess late at night," said relatives.

At the press conference, Nurjahan Begum said, "The students were also shown arrested in the Explosives Act case filed with Jatrabari Police Station last year. But at that time, our children were at their respective village homes as the university was closed due to Covid-19."

Of the 12 arrested students, four were enrolled at Jagannath University in March this year. Some of these students came to Dhaka for the first time to attend an orientation class on 8 March.

"So how could these students be accused in a case that happened in Dhaka even though they did not come to Dhaka?" she questioned.

"If the university administration expels students only taking into account the false case of the police, whom can the students turn to? With this behavior of the university administration, university freshers have become increasingly afraid. Many would leave the mess and go back to their village homes," she said.

The father of Raushanul Ferdous Rifat, an accounting department student who was arrested, said his son was in Nilphamari at that time in 2021 and preparing for university entrance exams. He came to Dhaka on 3 March this year for an orientation class at Jagannath University. However, he was shown arrested in a case that took place in Dhaka in September 2021, when he was not even in Dhaka.

Not only Rifat's family but also the family of Abdur Rahman Oli, a newly enrolled political science department student, echoed the same.

Oli's elder brother Aminul Islam said, "Our father Md Jahangir Alam is a freedom fighter and connected with the ruling party’s Awami League politics but his son has been framed in such a case."

Nurjahan Begum said in a written statement that an expatriate teacher Ali Riaz from the US, and Anu Muhammad, a professor at Jahangirnagar University, had already condemned the suspension order and demanded the release of the students.

"We are demanding immediate withdrawal of the illegal suspension order of the university authorities. At the same time, the false charges against our children should be withdrawn and they should be released immediately. We are concerned about the future and well-being of our children”, she added.

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