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Errant RU teachers need to be taken to task

THE allegation that at least four assistant proctors joined activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, students’ front of the ruling Awami League, in an attack on students at Rajshahi University on Sunday is indeed alarming. According to a New Age report on Wednesday, when the students protesting against the university administration’s decision to increase fees and introduce evening courses on commercial basis tried to regroup in front of the library building at about 1:00pm, following a series of armed attacks by BCL activists, the assistant proctors in question urged the police to attack them. Shamefully still, they even gave the protesting students a chase. One may recall here that the proctor of Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh reportedly joined BCL activists in an attack on a group of students protesting against increase in admission fees in October 2012. He allegedly assaulted a female student as well, touching off public outrage. 
However, such incidents, although unfortunate and uncalled for, are hardly surprising. Recruitments and promotions of teachers in all public universities have more often than not been made on partisan consideration, a pernicious practice that the previous Awami League-led government took to an unprecedented level. It is thus not quite difficult to understand why the four RU assistant proctors or the BAU proctor acted the way they did. It is also hardly surprising that the RU administration has failed to take any action thus far against the marauding BCL activists, especially those who were seen brandishing and using firearms during the mayhem, and that the six cases filed in connection with the incident do not feature any of the attackers.
Worse still, according to a report also published in New Age on Wednesday, the prime minister insisted, that too in parliament, on Tuesday that what the BCL activists had done was in reaction to an attack on them celebrating the university administration’s decision to meet the protesters’ demand. Just as she had done in the wake of the killing of Bishwajit Das by a group of BCL activists in December 2012, she also claimed that the firearms-brandishing men were not affiliated with the Chhatra League.
The reported involvement of the RU teachers in the attack on students marks an ominous sign as far as good teacher-student relations are concerned. The conscious section of society, including teachers, should immediately mount pressure on the authorities there to ensure exemplary punishment for the errant teachers following a proper investigation.

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