No recommendation by the JS committee executed to try the August 2007 DU incident
Dhaka, Aug 23 (bdnews24.com)
Rashed Khan Menon, the MP who led the parliamentary sub-committee to probe incidents of army repression against the teachers and students of Dhaka University during the last caretaker government, has expressed anguish over their recommendations remaining unimplemented.
The chief of the Workers Party of Bangladesh – a constituent of the ruling alliance led by the Awami League – said the report, submitted about a year ago, was never discussed in Parliament, despite promises by the Speaker.
“I am ashamed, (the) recommendations we had made to prevent recurrence of such incident in future remained unimplemented due to lack of steps by Parliament,” Menon said at a rally organised by the ‘Dhaka University Students-Teachers’ at the ‘Aporajeyo Bangla’ – a sculpture on the DU campus – on Thursday.
The annual ‘Black Day’ protest rally is being organised ever since the students and teachers of the university were beaten up by the security forces in August 2007.
On Aug 20, 2007, some army persons had altercation with some Dhaka University students at the university’s play ground during a football game over a trifle matter. The army men then beat up the students.
As the news spread, the students took to the streets and assaulted some senior army officers. The angry students burnt one army vehicle on the campus. Violence erupted across the country in protest.
Troops arrested many university teachers in Dhaka and Rajshahi on charges of instigating the violence against the army. The emergency government imposed curfew across the country and troops assaulted hundreds of innocent people including students and journalists.
The incident caused nationwide student unrest ultimately forcing the then military-backed caretaker government to relent and release the arrested teachers and students, and withdrew army camps from the university campus.
A four-member parliamentary sub-committee was constituted after the Awami League-led grand alliance assumed power in 2009 to probe the incident.
The committee found the then Chief Advisor to the caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed and Army chief Moeen U Ahmed responsible for the incident.
The 383-page probe report submitted on Feb 6 this year recommended 13 steps to prevent such incidents from recurring. They included trying the then DGFI chief Maj Gen ATM Amin, Brig Gen Fazlul Bari, Col Shamsul Alam and others.
“It won’t mean anything if the incidents are kept only in the pages of memory, those who involved must be punished,” Menon said.
Prof Anwar Hossain, one of the four teachers arrested at the time and now Vice-chancellor of Jahangirnagar University, cautioned the army officers against carrying out such “wrong” acts in future.
The then President of Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Manabendra Dev said the Dhaka University students would protest every time such incidents happened.
Prof Sadrul Amin, Prof Muntasir Mamun, Prof Mejbah Kamal, Prof Gitiara Nasrin and Prof Kaberi Gayen also attended the protest rally, which was presided over by Prof Mohammad Samad.
Various student organisations took out processions on the university campus to mark the day.