Illegal residents still occupy JU halls

Jahangirnagar University gateFile photo

The Jahangirnagar University (JU) authorities have failed to oust the illegally living students and students admitted under the ‘children quota’ from the residential halls even after five days of issuing an order regarding this. The leaders of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) are still living in the political blocks of the residential halls even after finishing their study at the university.

However, the hall provosts say they have ousted some of the non-students. Some of them begged for a day or two more.

A woman was allegedly raped on the Jahangirnagar University (JU) campus in front of her husband on 3 February. The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested four BCL leaders in connection with this incident.

Following that, the university administration ordered the illegal residents and students admitted under the children quota to leave the residential halls within five working days. Although that deadline ended on Sunday, only a handful of illegally living BCL activists have left the hall so far.

However, according to the provosts, they have ousted some 120-125 non-students from the Mir Mosharraf Hossain Hall, 60-80 from the Bishwkabi Rabindranath Thakur, 35-40 from the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, 30 from the Sheikh Russel Hall, 130-150 from the Shaheed Rafique-Jabbar hall, 30-40 from the Shaheed Salam Barkat Hall and 30-35 non0-students from the Mowlana Bhashani Hall.

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Meanwhile, the hall administration doesn’t have any specific account regarding the number of illegal residents at the halls. However, allegations have surfaced that resident students are being harassed in the name of ousting illegally occupying students from the residential halls. The students claim that there have been no drives at all in the political blocks occupied by the BCL.

Mowlana Bhashani hall resident Ahsan Labib said, “There has been no strict rule regarding allotting seats to students as of yesterday. Students get into the halls arbitrarily. It became a common practice here. Now everybody demands the non-students to leave the halls. However, the administration seems to be more concerned about who has been allotted seats in the halls and who is not instead of ousting the non-students.”

Speaking to the students at various halls, it has been learned that none of the BCL activists who already have finished their studies at the university, but still occupying seats in the political blocks, have been evicted so far. However, some illegally occupying students have been ousted. The scenario was almost the same in the halls for male students. None of the illegally occupying residents in the political blocks of the Shaheed Salam-Barkat Hall, Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore Hall, Shaheed Rafique-Jabbar Hall and the Mowlana Bhasani Hall has left as yet.

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University BCL general secretary Habibur Rahman alias Liton’s studenthood is over and he was admitted under the children quota. He has been occupying room 347 and 349 (four seats in total) of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman hall for a long time.

University BCL president Aktaruzzaman Sohel (42nd batch) still occupies room 320 and 322 of the Mowlana Bhasani Hall even after completing his post-graduation. Each room consists of four seats. A former student of the 41st batch and BCL leader Mizanur Rahman occupies room 322 of the Bangabandhu hall. Besides, BCL leader Jubayer Ahmed resides in room 323 of the Mowlana Bhashani Hall.

Another BCL leader Arman Khan occupies room 126 of the Bhashani Hall. Of them, Mizanur Rahman was the vice-president of the previous BCL committee of the university. Jubayer was a candidate for the president post of the Mowlana Bhashani Hall BCL committee. And Arman is the younger brother of former central BCL president Al Nahian Khan.

Speaking regarding this, university BCL general secretary Habibur Rahman said, “I left the hall on Sunday night. But I may have to return to the hall for organisational activities from time to time.”

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However, some of the followers of Habibur Rhamna said the BCL general secretary was in the hall on Sunday night.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman hall provost professor Israfil Ahmed said, “Liton (Habibur Rahman) has told us that he had left the hall. We will allot the rooms occupied by him to normal students. Efforts are on to oust the remaining illegal occupants.”

When asked, Shaheed Salam-Barkat hall provost professor Sukalyan Kumar Kundu said, “We have ousted some 30-40 expired students from the hall so far. There are some similar students who are affiliated with BCL. None of them have been ousted.”

There are a total of seven small common rooms in the Mowlana Bhashani Hall. Some 10-12 first-year students are living in each of these four-seat rooms. Besides, some five to six first-year students were seen living in a two-seated room of the AFM Kamal Uddin Hall, 8-12 students each in some eight four-seat rooms in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, 8-10 students each in six four-seat rooms of Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore hall and some 6-9 students were seen living in each of the 12 four- seated rooms of the Shaheed Rafique-Jabbar Hall. The students are living in these rooms by flooring.

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President of the provost committee professor Nigar Sultana told Prothom Alo that, “Non-students are being ousted from the halls regardless of their political affiliation. Some of the hall authorities have submitted a list of the number of non-students ousted or still living in the halls. I will get this list from the remaining halls by Tuesday.”

She further said, “There are still some non-students at the halls. They have sought some more time to find another place to shift. But every one of them must leave the halls.”

*This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu