Titu Miah said under this arrangement, dope tests would be run during the enrolment of new students of DU every year and the recruitment of the university’s teachers. Besides, students of each year would undergo dope testing in phases, he added.

On 29 August, the parliamentary standing committee on the home ministry in its meeting stressed conducting dope testing on the government officials and employees and running the tests in colleges and universities.

After that, the DU took the decision in principle on dope testing.

Md Lutfor Rahman, convener of pro-BNP white panel of DU’s teachers, does not think the decision on dope testing is necessary.

He told Prothom Alo, “I couldn’t find the decision logical. It does not comply with the overall situation of the university. I think the university authorities will back away from their decision. If all decisions are taken similar to the government, where does the autonomy of the university lie?”

On the other hand, Andus Samad, convener of pro-Awami League blue panel of DU’s teachers, declined comment.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Md Nizamul Haque Bhuyian, general secretary of DU Teachers’ Association from the blue panel, said they welcomed the decision on dope testing.

“Dope tests are conducted in various places around the world, so where is the problem to do so in Bangladesh? We think it should be done. Every one of us will remain alert then,” he added.

The decision on dope testing also sparked mixed reaction among student leaders.

BNP’s student front Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) supports the decision but while Awami League’s student body Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) emphasises “creative social programmes” to eradicate drugs.

Leaders of left leaning student organisations called it a ‘suppressive decision’ of the university authorities.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Saddam Hossain, general secretary of BCL’s DU unit, said, “To keep youth away from drug addiction and eradicate drugs, a combined social movement is necessary in addition to awareness programmes.”

“The university should not take any administrative initiative that affects the personal freedom and dignity of the students,” he added.

Rakibul Islam, convener of JCD’s DU unit, said the DU dormitories have allegedly been turned into the sanctuary of narcotics for long. So, once the dope testing can be ensured students would be saved from the dangers of drug. All students of DU are brilliant but some students are into drugs because of the environment and circumstances after they come to campus, he added.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Salman Siddique, coordinator of the coalition of three left leaning student organisations Progressive Student Alliance’s university unit and president of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front’s (Marxism) DU unit, said, “We take a firm stance against drugs. But the decision that the DU authorities has taken to eradicate narcotics in the name of dope testing is not a scientific or democratic method and it will not work.”

“Rather, the administration will use it to harass students and teachers with opposite opinions and suppress democratic movement. It is of course a suppressive decision of the administration,” he added.

Dope test committee

The other members of the committee on formulating a policy on dope testing are Md Rahmat Ullah, acting dean of faculty of law, Mihir Lal Saha, acting dean of faculty of biological sciences, SM Abdur Rahman, acting dean of faculty of pharmacy, Shahriar Nabi, dean of faculty of medicine, Jobeda Khatun, chairman of clinical psychology department, and Sarwar Jahan, chief medical officer of DU.

Difficult to run dope testing ono many students

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Sarwar Jahan, member of the committee and chief medical officer of DU, said more than 7,000 students enrol at the honours first year in Dhaka University. It is difficult to arrange dope testing on such a large number of students and arrangements will also have to be taken for the students of each session, which are than 40,000.

The committee has been formed to work out how this work would be performed. And there is also a plan to run dope testing on candidates during the recruitment of DU teachers, Sarwar Jahan added.

This report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

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