Govt goes tough on ragging

Student activities under strict surveillance

The government is going tough on stalkers at all educational institutions in order to stop ragging, sources in the education and home ministries said. “In the wake of recent incidents of killing, hooliganism, torture and ragging specially on public university campuses, university authorities have been asked, as per the prime minister’s order, to take stern actions against those found involved in ragging on the campus,” said an official of the education ministry.

In this regard, both education and home ministries in association with the public university authorities are framing strategies on ways such offences like torture, ragging and humiliation can be eradicated forever from campuses. A section of leaders and workers of different student wings of political parties have allegedly continued assaulting and torturing general students to compel them to either take part in their political programmes or follow their orders on the university campuses.

Besides, some senior students allegedly also assaulted and humiliated the junior students in the name of ragging. According to the home ministry sources, surveillance will be enhanced at every educational institution in the country so that not a single student is physically or emotionally abused by another.

Besides, the university authorities have also been asked to form a special cell at their respective campuses. “Different intelligence agencies have already started monitoring student activities at public universities including in Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar, over which political party student-wing is dominating or controlling the campuses,” an official of the home ministry said. Besides, the intelligence agencies are also collecting information on the family background of student leaders and workers.

Apart from these, they are overseeing student involvement in overall activities and whether they are involved in various criminal activities like tender manipulation, ragging and torture. On the other hand, the intelligence agencies are also collecting information on drug addicted students. As no outsiders will be allowed to stay in student residential halls, the list of outsiders will be collected immediately. There were two kinds of illegal dwellers: outsiders and those who had finished student life two or three years ago.

Teacher and student politics has been banned in BUET on demand of enraged students to protest the killing of Abrar, but government opposes the introduction of a similar trend in education across the country. However, from the higher educational institutions of the country, including in Dhaka to the school-college level, it is difficult to maintain normal conditions on the campuses if this kind of terrorist activities are carried out in the name of student politics.

Several government sources claimed that if politics were withdrawn from the educational institutions , there is a strong threat of fundamentalist organizations, including Shibir and Hizbut Tahrir, coming to the fore. Even innocent, ordinary students can be easy targets of militant groups.

A senior intelligence official seeking anonymity said, “Previous criminal records of campus leaders will be investigated. A full list of their current activities will also be included in the list.” In addition, detectives will also inquire about their involvement in the underworld and with foreign terrorists. Based on published reports in the media, detectives will investigate the disillusionment of the activists of various organizations along with the BCL.

Meanwhile, the country’s public university authorities have taken “drastic measures” to ensure safe and secure campuses for the students. “ No hooliganism, humiliation, torture, ragging, drug addiction and other offences will be allowed on the university campuses from right now, aiming at ensuring discipline on the campus,” Professor Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Vice-Chancellor (VC), University of Dhaka told Bangladesh Post on Friday.

If any student is found guilty, he or she will be dealt with severely, the VC warned. Besides, they have also already taken various steps to create a congenial atmosphere for academic, extra-curricular and research activity at their respective campuses. When contacted Dr. Shireen Akhter, Vice Chancellor (Routine Duty), University of Chattogram, echoing the same view said, the university administration has already taken necessary steps to free the campus from all sorts of offences and criminal activities including hooliganism, humiliation, torture, ragging and drug addiction.

“We held a crucial meeting on Thursday in order to ensure friendly atmosphere on the campus. All provosts, house tutors and university proctor have been asked to monitor overall activities of students. And our measures are now visible from today (Friday),” she said. Apart from the public university authorities, as per Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s directive, the law enforcement agencies will also conduct raids at student dormitories at every public university and college across the country to free them from ‘torture centres’.

In the wake of recent incidents of killing, hooliganism and ragging on campuses, academics, members of civil society and people from all walks of life urged a social movement to remove the ragging and bullying culture from the universities. “The university authorities have already asked the students to notify their respective dormitory provosts and the proctor of the university if they got any specific information about drug addicts or dealers, activities of hooligans and criminals. We will go tough on them,” Akhtaruzzaman said. He said, students would have to leave the hall within 15 days of completion of the master's examination.

“The hall administration would allocate the seats among the first year honours students based on merit. And no student will be allowed to stay without the permission of the administration,” the DU VC said. He added, the central library's deadline has already been extended to 9 pm in order to facilitate students’ study.

Apart from Dhaka University, Jagannath University (JnU) authorities have also imposed a restriction on visitors during academic hours on the campus. Besides, the university administration in separate drives, evicted a large number of 100 outsiders or illegal dwellers from the campus. The university authorities asked students to show their identity cards while entering their respective dormitories.