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The Dhaka University Teachers’ Association did not issue any statement regarding the locking of the law department chairman's office, nor did the pro-BNP-Jamaat teachers' organisation do so.

DU Teachers’ Association general secretary Nizamul Hoque Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo, “The Facebook status of Asif Nazrul was controversial. In no way was that a right thing to do. Chhatra League and Muktijuddha Mancha locked his room out of grievance. But it would have been better if they approached the university administration about the matter instead of doing something like that.”

Speaking to Prothom Alo, convener of the BNP-Jamaat-leaning teachers' organisation, Lutfor Rahman, on Thursday said, “We are observing the situation and how the authorities handle the matter. We hope the authorities will handle it intelligently and stand by the teacher.”

As the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan, professor Asif Nazrul posted a status on his verified Facebook profile on Tuesday. The status read, “Bangladesh also could see scenes like that of Kabul airport if a fair election is held.”

Following this, a group of BCL men went with a procession to the law department and locked Asif Nazrul’s room after a programme at Central Shaheed Minar marking the anniversary of the series bomb blast across the country on 17 August. They also put up some handwritten posters that called Asif Nazrul a “traitor”, “an agent of Taliban” and “an aide of militancy”.

Bangladesh Muktijuddha Mancha, a platform of the offspring of freedom fighters, formed a human chain in front of Raju Memorial Sculpture on the campus and demanded his speedy arrest and removal from his job.

A central BCL leader filed a written complaint against the law professor with Shahbagh police station in the capital on Wednesday evening.

Speaking about this, DU proctor AKM Golam Rabbani said, “We expect all sides to be tolerant and behave responsibly.”

BNP’s condemnation

Condemning the locking of Asif Nazrul’s office and threatening him, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir issued a statement on Thursday. He said this was a severe blow to freedom of expression. Such activities are not expected in Dhaka University.

Statement by Moulik Odhikar Surokkha Committee

Moulik Odhikar Surokkha Committee, a platform to ensure fundamental rights of people, expressed its concern over the situation centering Asif Nazrul’s Facebook status.

In a media release, the platform said it is a part of our constitutional fundamental rights to come up with analysis and opinions about current national and international affairs. At the same time, every citizen has the right to contradict and protest against other opinions. But issuing threats and locking doors of the law department chairman's room is akin to contravening the rule of law.

The statement further said it is the responsibility of the university authorities to take appropriate action against those who issued the threats and locked the door and to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate.

The committee also urged different authorities of the state to adopt a responsible role to ensure freedom of expression and constitutional rights.

Protest

Chhatra Odhikar Parishad, a youth platform, condemned and protested the incident. In a statement on Thursday, the platform demanded that the university authorities bring the perpetrators to book.

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