Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  

Academic standstill at RU
Threats to the teachers' lives must be countered
The situation at Rajshahi University, which witnessed the gruesome murder of Professor Muhammad Yunus only six days back, has turned murkier with six more teachers receiving death threats from unknown sources.

The murder of Professor Yunus has created a sense of insecurity among the teachers that the death threats could only make worse. The teachers have every reason to feel worried as the police have failed to make any headway in the investigation into the murder of the professor, though it was one of those crudely executed crimes that the law enforcers should have been able to get to the bottom of. The mystery surrounding the murder has deepened with the distribution of a leaflet in the name of an outlawed extremist group that claimed to have committed it. Confusion persists on the campus as to who might have actually printed and distributed the leaflet. Local journalists and RU students seem to be under the impression that the leaflet was printed by the real killers with the motive of shifting the blame on to an underground outfit with criminal records. They hinted at religious obscurantists as the possible perpetrators of the crime. What we want to lay stress on, however, is that the investigation should proceed smoothly without being influenced or derailed by any extraneous factors. The real culprits have to be brought to justice, regardless of their political or social identity.

The failure to resolve the case is taking its toll on the academic life of the university. Protests and condemnations are pouring in from every corner and classes remain suspended.

The government should act on two fronts to handle the crisis. First, the security of the threatened teachers should be ensured. Second, the extremist and militant elements operating on the campus have to be wiped out with the cooperation of the teachers and students. A sound academic atmosphere and ruthless killers cannot exist together.