Prove graft allegation or face legal action: PM

DHAKA Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the people, who are creating anarchy on universities after bringing corruption allegations against vice-chancellors, would have to face legal action if they fail to prove it.

The people who are frequently carrying out movements against vice chancellors branding them as corrupt. They must have to prove the allegation. If they can prove it action will be taken against them (VCs), otherwise, legal action will be taken against those making allegation, she said while distributing assistance among journalists at a function at the Prime Minister's office here.

The remarks came when unrests are going on over corruption allegations at Jahangirnagar University and Pabna University of Science and Technology (PUST).

The premier said that it would not be tolerated anymore to stop classes and launch attacks on the houses of VCs and offices in the name of movements without any logical grounds.

Corruption allegations are usually surfaced whenever any development project is taken place, she said, opining that the allegations might have come while the money earned through grafts is not distributed properly.In this context, she said the BUET students have been carrying out the movement following death of a fellow student since the people responsible for killing of the student, were arrested and a case was filed to this end, saying, I found no logic to continue the movement.

The premier slammed the Bengali daily Prothom Alo over the death of a student of Dhaka Residential Model School and College in electrocution due to their negligence in arranging a programme at the school where little children joined the function and attended the school.

How they (Prothom Alo) could make such negligence. Didn't they have any responsibilities to arrange the programme in a proper manner as little students are roaming there. But, they did not pay heed to the matter. This is a serious offence. It can't be tolerated, she said.

The premier also criticized the Prothom Alo authority for taking the student in a private hospital in Mohakhali despite having several hospitals such as Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital and Trauma Centre around the venue.

Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, State Minister for Information Dr Murad Hasan and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Information Ministry Hasanul Haq Inu were present on the dais while Information Secretary Abdul Malek moderated the function.

PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) Managing Director and Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad and PM's Speech Writer Md Nazrul Islam were present on the occasion.

Bangladesh Observer Editor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, eminent journalist Abed Khan, President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Molla Jalal and Secretary General Shaban Mahmud, President of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) Abu Jafar Surjo and General Sectary Sohel Haider Chowdhury, BTV Director General SM Harunur Rashid and PIB Director General Zafar Wazed, among others, were also present.

Referring to the protest in Jahangirnagar University over graft allegation against the vice-chancellor (VC), Sheikh Hasina said, If the complainants fail to prove the allegation, they have to face the music.

The Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to keep the records and footages of speeches and words of everyone making the allegations.

Criticising the move that kept classes shut days after days, she said, The students responsible for it should be expelled from the university immediately.

The premier also held the teachers responsible for it, saying, Teachers are using students in such misdeeds.

She also criticized the protest of Dhaka University students over shifting of the station of Dhaka Metro Rail and taking the plan to reconstruct the TSC having modern facilities.

The premier questioned why such movements are waged whenever development programmes are taken and said that a vested quarter who doesn't want the continuation of the government, staging trials of the war criminals and killers of the Father of the Nation have been hatching conspiracy to this end.

Sheikh Hasina urged the journalist community to write something about the issues aimed at revealing the truth behind those.

The Prime Minister also requested the newsmen to publish follow-up stories about the agony of the thousands of women who were inhumanly tortured during the War of Liberation in 1971.

She heavily criticized the BNP for resorting to same type of atrocities after assuming state power through 2001 general election as mothers and daughters were raped together at that time.

Giving credit to the media for bringing Feni's Nusrat killing to the light, the premier called upon the journalists to unmask the criminals by publishing their names and addresses.

In this context, she said her government has been taking actions against the criminals irrespective of their political identities, adding, A criminal is a criminal whoever he and whatever his political identity might be. One must face punishment if commits a crime.

The premier distributed cheques of financial assistance to 53 journalists suffering from various diseases and financial insolvency and the family members of the journalists who died in different incidents. The donations were given from Bangladesh Journalists' Welfare Trust.

With them, financial assistance has so far been given to 1,714 journalists and their family members at different times.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initiated the trust fund in 2014 by giving seed money of Taka 5 crore. She has donated Taka 28.80 crore to the trust at different times.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)