Victim upset at university role | 2019-07-15

Arson Attack on USTC Teacher

Victim upset at university role

Staff Correspondent

15 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

CHATTOGRAM: The USTC faculty Prof Masud Mahmud who fell victim to a brutal arson attack by a group of students expressed his dissatisfaction over the investigation carried out by the university authority and police.

The English Department professor of the University of Science and Technology, Chittagong, said the act of terminating only four students and arresting two of them in connection with the incident apparently made a safe passage for the other accused.

The senior faculty member also decided not to continue service with the university.

Mentionable, Prof Masud, who retired from English Department of Chittagong University (CU), joined USTC — one of the oldest private universities of the country as adviser around three years back.

A group of students brought allegation of ‘sexual harassment’ against him in April this year and staged demonstration on the university campus.

However, a group of former students of CU also stood by Prof Masud, saying that he was the victim of conspiracy.

A source said Prof Masud didn’t allow some students to sit for the test as the latters failed to attend a required number of classes.

It added that he had a role in terminating some ‘less qualified’ teachers of the department, and thus he fell victim to a sort of conspiracy.

On July 2, a group of students dragged Prof Masud out of his room on the university campus and poured kerosene on him allegedly in a bid to set him on fire.

 The unruly students also staged demonstration blocking the busy Zakir Hossain Road at that time.

 On information, police rushed to the spot and arrested Master’s student Mahmudul Hasan, 22, from the campus. A case was filed in this connection on that day.

The student was placed on remand while another accused Md Moinul Alam arrested from the campus on Friday last.

On the other hand, USTC expelled four students including the arrestees following an investigation carried out by a university committee.

Of the students, Mahmudul was expelled permanently and the remaining three including Moinul, Md Sheikh Rasel Shahensha and Md Ali Hossain for one year.

The trio was also given time till today (July 15) for self-defence, said sources.

Talking to daily sun, Prof Masud alleged that he brought allegation against a total of 21 students.

“The university authority expelled only four students, and even the female students who brought allegation against me were also kept outside the punitive action,” he said, adding that police also didn’t talk to him after the incident.  

“I have decided not to work with the university where I was insulted without any reason.”

Regarding the allegation of harassment, Masud said many issues including sex are discussed during teaching literature in the classroom.

“I have been teaching the same issues since beginning of my professional life at CU. Three years have already passed, but none brought such allegation before,” he said.

Professor Masud also claimed that he became the victim because he took initiatives against some irregular students and ‘less-qualified’ teachers.

Investigation Officer (IO) Sub Inspector (SI) Shakhawat Hossain Chowdhury of Khulshi police station said two accused students were arrested in connection with the incident.

Replying to a question regarding the victim’s allegation, the IO said Prof Masud is not attending the university and cooperating with them in this regard. 

Contacted, the university Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Jahangir Alam said a high-powered committee was formed immediately after the incident to investigate the matter.

The committee prepared a report scrutinising the CCTV footage and the deposition of witnesses before submitting it with recommendations for punishment against the four students. 

“We took punitive actions against the students following the report and stern action will be taken against those who will be involved in such act in future,” the VC said, adding that there is no scope to do anything avoiding the investigation report.