Oath taking is nothing unless VC and teachers accept responsibility

18 October 2019 Editorial Desk

With the murder of Abrar Fahad fresh in everyone's minds, agitating students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology took an oath to resist terrorism and communal forces on the campus on Wednesday. Several hundred students took the oath in presence of BUET Vice-Chancellor Prof Saiful Islam, deans of different faculties and hall provosts.

The programme was held at the University auditorium after being shifted from the earlier planned venue of Shaheed Minar premises due to inclement weather.  The Vice Chancellor, Acting Director of the Directorate of Student's Welfare (DSW) Prof Mohammed Abdul Basith and provosts of all eight halls took the oath with the students. Prior to the oath-taking, the teachers and students observed a minute's silence in memory of Abrar Fahad. The students also took an oath to ensure the welfare and security of all concerned in the university, and perform their moral responsibilities with honesty and sincerity. The students also swore to remain vocal against wrongdoings, injustices and discrimination on the campus.   Law Minister Anisul Huq assured of trying offences committed in the name of ragging at educational institutions. He stated on Wednesday that any kind of torture, including slapping in the name of ragging, is an offence under the Penal Code of the country. If anybody lodges complaints of being tortured in the name of ragging, the offence will be tried under the existing laws.

We live in this country so we know how the Law Ministry controls the lower judiciary for political purposes. We have a Law Minister who is good at misleading the government on law. We do not attach much importance to his promise of speeding up the trial unless the Prime Minister wants that happen.

Besides, speedy trial itself is no guarantee for justice. The judicial system including the police which is influenced politically cannot be trusted wholly. The Law Minister must also be knowing how easy for the government to harass opponents politically by filing 30 to 40 cases against one. He knows how one case can become 22 cases and how bail is rejected in bailable cases. Even a magistrate cancelled a bail under instruction from above when the bail matter was not for him to consider.

We do not mean to say that Law Minister is free in respect of serious cases. We do not blame him but what we want to say is that his assurance should not be taken as a sure guarantee.

We have no respect for political oath taking if the VC and teachers of BUET take no responsibility and accept punishment voluntarily. They have not accepted their guilt in the savagery that was going on in the halls of the university and brutal death of student Abrar. It has surprised many that the protesting students, teachers and VC together took oath not to tolerate not only terrorism but also communalism. Why we have to accept blame as being communal. In Bangladesh communalism is not a problem.

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