Prove allegations or face punishment: PM to demonstrators in universities

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Dhaka, November 07: Coming down heavily on those engaged in movements against the vice chancellors of several universities, including Jahangirnagar University, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said they will have to face punishment if they fail to prove their allegations.“If they fail to prove their allegations, they’ll be punished for bringing false accusations… we’ll definitely do this. Because, I can’t tolerate that the classes will remain closed for days after days,” she said, UNB reports.

The Prime Minister said this while distributing cheques of financial assistance at a simple ceremony at her office among sick, financially insolvent and injured journalists as well as the families of journalists killed in road accidents. The money came from the Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust.

She said movements started suddenly against vice-chancellors in several universities and they are branding the VCs as corrupt.

Noting that they must prove the allegations in Jahangirnagar University, she said, “If anyone fails to prove, the accuser will have to face the same punishment what may be awarded to the accused person as it is stated in the law.”

“Legal actions will be taken if they raise false allegations. We’ll take such actions. I’ve made it clear,” said the Prime Minister adding that she has already directed the authorities concerned to keep the records and footages of speeches and words of everyone who is bringing allegations.

“I would like to say it unequivocally that those who are bringing graft allegation, they’ll have to prove their allegations and provide information. If they can provide information, we’ll surely take action (against the corrupt),” she said.

Hasina said carrying out attacks on the VC’s residence, office, vandalism as well as disrupting classes and university activities in the name of movement is also one kind of terror act.

She said those who are bringing allegations surely have information. “Otherwise, why will they bring the allegations?”

“It won’t be enough to say that some amount of money is given out. They’ll have to find out where the money has been given and what for the money has been kept aside, the PM added.

Talking about Buet, Sheikh Hasina said the government took action immediately after the killing of its student Abrar Fahad and arrested all involved in the killing.

“We took action soon after receiving information…everybody (accused) has already been arrested. Everything, including case proceedings, is going on. Now what’re they waging the movement for? My question is here,” she said.

Hasina questioned as to why they will remain (as students) there at the university hindering the classes for days after days. “Those who’re engaged in such activities should be expelled from the university immediately.”

Being an autonomous body, a university is supposed to run with its own financing. But the government provides money from the national budget to the universities every year, she said.

Mentioning that the government provides money for their study, Hasina questioned how much money the students spent at the universities.

“We give the money from the national budget. But the government can’t do anything there where the classes remain closed for days after days. It can’t be allowed to go like that,” she said.

The Prime Minister said a movement is waged when any development work or a project is approved for a university. “Is there any matter of having share by those who are doing movement?”

She said the project has been approved (for JU) but the money is yet to be disbursed. ”Movement has been waged bringing corruption allegation before the disbursement of money.”

Hasina also criticised those who earlier protested the move to set up the metro rail station through Dhaka University campus, and reconstruct and modernise the varsity’s Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) which was built in the 1960s.

Nayeemul Abrar Death

About the death of a student of Dhaka Residential Model School Nayeemul Abrar, the Prime Minister criticised the daily ‘Prothom Alo’ for neglecting the safety and security of the students, and not taking proper steps for his treatment.

Abrar was electrocuted during a function of Kishor Alo, a juvenile magazine, on the school premises on Friday.

She said those who arrange a programme on school ground should have the sense of responsibility to ensure the safety of their students. They should have been careful about the safety and security of the children and proper arrangement of everything, she said.

“They neglected it to the point that the boy died from electrocution but they kept this incident hidden till all the components of the function were over,” she said adding that they took the student to a private hospital in Mohakhali though there are so many hospitals nearby.

The Prime Minister said the problem of electrocution was reported repeatedly but no one did pay heed to it.

“How can Prothom Alo do such a thing with so much of negligence? They are holding their function. Don’t they have any responsibility? Won’t they see whether it was being held properly? They should have realised that children are also studying in the school.”

The PM went on to say, “They’ve committed a serious offence. So, it can never be tolerated a man or child will die in such way.”

Pointing at journalists, she urged the media to focus on the names and identities of criminals, particularly in the case of sexual repression against women.

She urged the media owners to come forward to donate to the fund of the Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust.

The Prime Minister handed over the cheques of financial assistance to 53 journalists and journalist families at the function.

Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud presided over the function. State Minister for Information Md Murad Hassan and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Ministry Hasanul Haq Inu were present as special guests.

Information Secretary Abdul Malek delivered the welcome speech.