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Behind SUST turmoil

Published : 25 Jan 2022 11:01 PM | Updated : 26 Jan 2022 01:00 PM

The recent student movement in the reputed Shahjalal University of Science and Technology( SUST) was at first a mock and  made-up movement created by the close circle of VC Professor Farid Uddin.

However, now it becomes a boomerang against the VC group, sources said.

Another SUST sources said, the student movement is solely the result of teacher politics. 

However, Bangladesh Post could not independently verify the claims and counter claims. 

The sources referred that there has been no committee of the BCL in SUST for the last two years.

Some influential teachers belonging to VC Farid Uddin’s circle, initiated spreading fake and fabricated news against the heavyweight candidates of the SUST unit BCL only to delay the formation of the committee. 

No other student organizations are active due to the teacher politics dominating the SUST.

As the syndicate and academic council election of the SUST is scheduled to be held on February 2, pro- BNP-Jammat teachers at first masterminded the movement in a bid to have the majority in the next polls, said SUST insiders.

According to a former influential leader of the SUST unit of BCL, who now stays in the UK, teachers of pro- leftist group and Awami League’s rival group are now inciting the movement in their interest in the name of student movement.   

VC Farid Uddin was basically a pro-BNP teacher while he worked in Dhaka University. He had also proposed to introduce Ziaur Rahman chair in DU during the regime of BNP-Jammat, DU sources alleged.

He joined pro-AL teacher group after the fall of BNP-Jammat government.

He still backs pro-BNP-Jammat teachers and staff while working as SUST VC, by illegally promoting them, violating rules and regulation.

According to the SUST sources, apart from patronizing Awami league’s rival teacher group in SUST, he also allegedly created his own group, picking up people from his native Cumilla district, relatives and former Jammat-Shibir leaders by appointing them in SUST. 

About the recent unrest the SUST insiders said Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall was the centre point of  the movement.  The provost was former student of SUST. Provost Jafrin Liza is member of pro-71 group. She is also the younger sister of Nasim Saidi, former influential teacher of SUST and former BCL leader in SUST. She is also a member of the syndicate from provost quota. The panel of Pro-71 teachers, had the possibility of gaining a majority in the election of the syndicate and academic council.

The incident started on the night of January 13. On January 12, Provost Jafrin Liza informed everyone that she was infected with COVID-19. However, on the night of January 13, she was asked to come to the hall. She refused naturally. Following the student agitation, the students of the hall came to lay siege to the VC bungalow at around 1 am. But next to the VC bungalow,   the first student hall is located. The provost of the 1st student hall is Zaida Sharmin Swati, a leftist teacher from the rival group. She passed from Jahangirnagar University. But there is still no word against the provost of 1st student hall. However, students are against the provost of Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, Jafrin Liza,because she is a former SUST student and from Sylhet region and  she belongs to pro-71 group.

Pro-71 group wanted her as a member of the syndicate. But rival group wanted to remove Jafrin Liza and replace her by appointing a teacher from rival group through the movement. In the face of the movement, the VC first appointed Jobaida Konak, a teacher from his area Cumilla  and a member of rival group as acting provost. 

From the incidents, it became clear that the so-called movement was mainly organized by student advisers and proctors.

 On the other hand, the teachers of 71- group  wanted to give the next provost from their panel. Because this provost position is very important. Whoever comes to this post, will be the member of the syndicate. Later, the VC agreed to appoint Professor Nazia Chowdhury as the next provost of the hall. She is former SUST and member of pro-71 group.

When the movement is about to end, the police conducted the attack on students. Then the protestors started demanding the immediate resignation of VC in protest against the attack. 

Mysteriously protestors are not demanding the resignation of proctor, provost or student adviser.

SUST insiders said   those who are leading the movement are mainly the leaders and workers of the left organizations and members of various clubs of SUST. They are known as very closed with proctor and student adviser.

Though the agitators have slammed various teachers, so far they have not spoken against student adviser Zahir Uddin, Proctor Alamgir Kabir or any assistant proctor. 

According to sources, in  2001, when Jamaat-BNP came to power, many teachers of Jamaat-BNP ideology were appointed in Shahjalal University of Science and Technology( SUST). Even during the Awami League government from 1996 to 2001, it was seen that most of the teachers recruited were also pro Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP.

When the Awami League came to power in 2009, the progressive students were appointed teachers through then SUST VC Professor Saleh Uddin. 

Meanwhile, the wife of Professor Zahir Uddin, who is currently the student advisor and a teacher in the Department of Economics, tried to join the Department of Social Sciences.

As Professor Zahir failed to manage the job of his wife, his followers created an anti-VC Saleh Uddin group. They were mainly accompanied by teachers who passed from Jahangirnagar and later became teachers in SUST.

In the 2010 Syndicate elections, Abdul Munim Joardar, a teacher in the Department of Economics, fought from a panel of Pro-71, teachers inspired by the spirit of the Liberation War. But Pro Zahir and his followers supported pro-BNP-Jammat candidate and ensured his win.

In protest, the Pro-17 teachers held a meeting on the same night and expelled Professor Akhtarul Islam, Rashed Talukder, Zahir Uddin and Hasan Zakirul for their involvement in these conspiracies against Pro-71 forum. From then on, these four teachers took part in all the subsequent elections against the panel of Pro-71 panel.  Zahir and followers named their group as the rival group. Later, a lot of pro-Jamaat and pro-BNP teachers joined the rival group. This rival group is also known as anti-Zafar Iqbal teachers. Their main job was to oppose the then administration.

In 2014, Professor Aminul Haque Bhuiyan was appointed as the SUST VC. Aminul Haque Bhuiyan appointed the teachers of the rival  group to the important  administrative posts after all the teachers of pro-71 group resigned from the administration in 2015 protesting against VC Aminul Bhuiyan.

Professor Farid Uddin joined as VC on 21st August 2016. He could not get out of the rival group's ring. However, he has given responsibility to some teachers of his own area and choice from the panel of  pro-71 group. He did his utmost to establish the dominance of his native district  Comilla group in SUST. For example, Kabir Hossain was appointed director of the medical center, Abdul Baten was  in charge of the library, Zahirul Islam as director of IICT, Arefin Novel as provost of Mujtaba Ali Hall, AKM Ferdous as director of planning and development department, APS Mithu and many other responsibilities were given to Comilla residents. 

Controversial teacher Samiul Islam Rajan was made provost of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman hall. He was accused of harassing a Hindu student to write in the name of Allah in his research paper and tactfully ousted him from his dream of being as SUST teacher. He was former Shibir leader and and then  Shibir president's roommate. The teachers in Sylhet and other areas were unhappy with the current  VC.

It needs to be mentioned that the main group of pro-Awami teachers in the Syndicate and Academic Council including the teachers' association is the majority of the panel of pro-71 group. In the last election also, out of 11 posts, except for one member post, all the other posts were won by pro-71 group. When Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed was appointed  the Vice Chancellor for the second time, teachers of the  pro-71 group  had expected that they would get the responsibility in the administration. But VC Professor Farid Uddin felt comfortable with the teachers of the rival group. 

Extreme anti-Al teacher Zahir Uddin and Proctor Alamgir Kabir took the initiative to cancel the BCL committee as soon as they got the responsibility.  As a result, there is no BCL committee in SUST. This is how the rival group of teachers held VC captive, sources said.

Farid Uddin Ahmed chose another approach of creating a personal group. Dr. Khairul Islam Rubel and Dr.  Mazharul Majumder of BBA Department, Abul Fazl. Zakaria of Anthropology (pro-Jamaat), Officer Tajim Uddin are main in his personal group. All of them were promoted to head of the department, dean violating rules. On the other hand, he wasted time in promoting many teachers of pro-71 group. 

BNP-Jamaat teachers and officials are getting   huge benefits on campus as there is a dispute between two pro-Awami League teachers. 

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