Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  
Front Page

Ru Teacher Murder
Hartal observed in Rajshahi

A dawn-to-dusk hartal, enforced by Awami League-led 14-party opposition, was observed peacefully in Rajshahi district yesterday in protest against the killing of Prof Muhammad Yunus of economics department at Rajshahi University (RU).

The police were yet to find out the reasons for murder of Prof Yunus, also president of RU Bangabandhu Parishad. He was killed by unknown assailants on December 24.

Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) sources said the case has been included in the home ministry monitoring cell's list of sensational cases and the home ministry has called the officer-in-charge of Motihar Police Station to brief on the case.

The RU authorities are, however, firm on holding admission tests from January 1 amid a series of protest programmes including strikes by teachers and students.

After the hartal, the 14-party announced to hold a protest rally in Rajshahi on January 2. AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Workers' Party President Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) President Hasanul Haque Inu are likely to address the rally.

An alliance of different social, cultural and professional organisations yesterday announced to observe a token 'mass hunger strike' on January 1.

RU Progressive Teachers' Association (PTA) announced a five-day work abstention programme from January 1 while the ongoing strike of RU Teachers Association ends today.

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) has called students' strike on January 1 and 2 for the 'slow progress' in the investigation of the murder. The BCL will also stage a sit-in in front of Senate Bhaban on January 1 and 2 and token hunger strike on January 3.

Announcing their programmes at a press conference held at Juberi Bhaban, the PTA steering committee leaders expressed concern over the threats on teachers and demanded postponement of the admission tests until Eid-ul-Azha.

On the other hand, RU Students' Advisor Prof Zahid Hossain Milky held meetings with Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and BCL leaders and sought their cooperation in holding the admission tests.

Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Milky said they will hold the admission tests in January at any cost as preparations for the tests are complete.

RMP Commissioner Motiar Rahman said they were still in the dark about the murder, as they did not find any important physical or material evidence so far. "Yet we are optimistic (about making a headway), because we are investigating the case very seriously," he added.

Motiar said the four people including an ICS cadre arrested in connection with the murder provided some information, which cannot be disclosed in the interest of investigation.

A number of senior RU teachers, talking to The Daily Star, pointed out that the killers have succeeded in their aim to pose a threat to the intellectuals -- progressive thinkers in particular.

Some of them said the murder would directly benefit the anti-liberation forces ahead of elections for different teachers' bodies, scheduled to be held in January, as Prof Yunus was always active for progressive teachers' panel.

A history teacher said the killers succeeded in eliminating 'one of their possible targets' and creating panic among the progressive thinkers.

Former RU vice-chancellor Prof Abdul Khaleque said Yunus used to play roles in both general elections and teachers' elections. "His presence might have been (considered) a danger to the anti-liberation forces in the next elections."