Female student torture at IU: HC asks VC to follow appropriate law to punish guilty

Former BCL leader Sanjida Chowdhury alias AntoraProthom Alo file photo

The High Court on Wednesday scrapped an expulsion order against five students -- a former leader and four former activists of Islamic University’s ruling Awami League-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League -- for torturing a first-year student of finance and banking department.

An HC bench of justice JBM Hasan and justice Razik Al Jalil passed the order after hearing a writ petition on Wednesday, reports news agency UNB.

The court also asked the IU vice chancellor to re-determine the punishment of the five students and submit a report to HC on 23 August.

The High Court bench said the way the guilty students were punished was not appropriate. Instead, it asked the university authorities to follow Code of Conducts of the Students, 1987 to determine the punishment of the five guilty students.

Advocate Gazi Mohammad Muhsin, who filed the writ petition, confirmed the matter in the evening.

Earlier, on 15 July, the university administration expelled IU BCL unit former vice-president Sanjida Chowdhury Antora of statistics department and four of her associates, Tabassum Islam and Maobiya Jahan of finance and banking department, Halima Khatun Urmi of fine arts department and Israt Jahan Mim of law department of the university for one year.

The university authorities expelled them as per the university act, IU registrar office officials said.

A fresher of the finance and banking department was tortured and intimidated by the then IU unit BCL vice-president Sanjida Chowdhury Antora and her associates, including Tabassum, Mim, Urmi and Maobiya, in Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall on the campus at night on 12 February.

Antora, at one stage, allegedly forced the victim to get undressed and videoed the incident on her mobile phone.

Antora also reportedly threatened that she would make the video viral on social media if the victim disclosed the matter to anyone, according to the complaint the victim filed with the university administration, including the university proctor, student adviser and hall provost, on 14 February.

On the next day, the university authorities formed a five-member probe body headed by IU law department chairperson Reba Mondol.

The bench of justice JBM Hassan and justice Razik-Al-Jalil on 16 February asked the Kushtia deputy commissioner to investigate the incident by a three-member body and submit the report to it in seven working days.

Hearing a writ petition field by IU alumnus and lawyer Gazi Mohammad Mohsin, the court also asked the university authorities to keep the accused BCL leader and activists off the campus during the investigation.

Two probe bodies formed by the Islamic University authorities submitted their reports on 26 February.

Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall administration expelled the five accused on 27 February. On 1 March, the Bangladesh Chhatra League expelled Antora and the four activists for torturing and humiliating the female student.

The High Court bench on 1 March asked the university authority to suspend the accused BCL leader and activists based on the probe report, submitted by Kushtia district administration on 28 February.

The court also asked the vice-chancellor and registrar of the university to immediately remove Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall provost Shamsul Alam and house tutors Moumita Akhter and Ishrat Jahan for their alleged negligence that led to the ill-treatment of the victim.

The IU authorities later suspended the five accused students from the university as well as removed Shamsul Alam as provost of Deshratna Sheikh Hasina Hall.

The university authorities had also notified Ontora and her four associates asking them to submit their responses to the complaint in seven working days.

The university administration also allocated a seat to the female student in Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall on her choice following the High Court order.