Dhaka (Web Desk): Bangladesh’s most prestigious university has suspended a professor of Dhaka University for writing a column critical of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s father.
In his column, Morshed Hasan Khan said it was military strongman and opposition hero Ziaur Rahman — not Hasina’s father — who declared Bangladesh’s independence, a hugely provocative assertion, at the start of the war in 1971.
Khan also suggested most of the Awami League’s leadership, including Hasina’s father, fled Bangladesh when the war broke out.
University head Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman said Khan defamed Bangladesh’s first post-independence president and Hasina’s father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in the controversial article published in a Bengali daily.
Khan was “suspended until further notice” from Dhaka University, its vice-chancellor said, after the student wing of the Awami League staged angry rallies on campus.
Dhaka University is regarded as a stronghold of liberalism and secularism in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which has been ruled by Hasina’s Awami League for more than nine years.
Student supporters of the Awami League stormed Dhaka University’s campus and declared Khan was no longer welcome after the piece attracted a firestorm of publicity.
The professor has since expressed regret, posting an apology on his Facebook page.
Hasina had jailed her political rival, Khaleda Zia, in February for corruption in a move seen by critics as an attempt to remove opposition ahead of a general election slated for December.
The jail sentence handed to Zia, a two-time former premier and erstwhile ally of Hasina, sparked angry clashes between police and supporters from her Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
Rights groups have accused Hasina’s government of exploiting a controversial law to curb dissent and limit freedom of expression in the country of 160 million.