After Reopening: Surveillance planned for public univs
Public universities will contact intelligence agencies to know whether the latter have any information regarding possible "anarchy" and "spread of militant propaganda" on the campuses after the reopening of the institutions.
The authorities will bring the main entrances and sensitive places of the universities under CCTV surveillance to monitor the overall situation.
They will also maintain close contact with the local administrations to avert any untoward situation.
The decisions came at a virtual meeting between the University Grants Commission and vice-chancellors yesterday, two UGC members told The Daily Star after the meeting.
All the universities in the country have been closed since March 17 last year due to the pandemic.
Contacted, UGC member Prof Dil Afroza Begum, who presided over the meeting, said: "I will not make any comments on the meeting as it was a confidential one."
The meeting was held after the education ministry in a letter last week asked the authorities concerned to bring all universities under surveillance by intelligence agencies so that no "anarchic situation" is created following the reopening of the institutions. It said stern actions should be taken if required.
The ministry also asked the UGC to collect information on whether there was any "spread of militant propaganda" on the campuses of the public and private universities and inform the authorities concerned regarding the issue.
The education ministry sent the letter to the UGC on September 9 citing decisions of a September 2 meeting of the National Committee on Security Affairs (NCSA).
The Daily Star has obtained a copy of the letter.
Following a meeting between the education ministry, the UGC and public university VCs, the government on Tuesday decided that any university can resume in-person classes if all its students completed online registration for Covid-19 vaccination by September 27.
The universities can reopen upon approval of their academic councils and syndicates.
The government on August 26 decided that students of all public and private universities will be inoculated against Covid by September and the institutions could start in-person classes from October 15 in phases.
The following day, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, alleged that conspirators were preparing to create unrest in the country centring the universities with a target to oust the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He called upon the Chhatra League men to remain alert and not to get involved in internal wrangling over trivial matters, reported BSS.
Several VCs told yesterday's meeting that the situation was still under control. "They [VCs] do not see any major chance of creating an anarchic situation after the resumption of in-person classes," said a UGC member.
The VCs also said they were on alert against any kind of "militant activities" on the campuses.
"But as precaution, the meeting decided that universities will contact intelligence agencies and set up CCTV cameras at the main entrances and other sensitive places," the UGC member added.
The meeting also decided that if any university faced any problem in installing CCTV cameras, the UGC would assist it.
The authorities should also consider that CCTV surveillance does not hamper personal activities of the students on the campuses, the meeting observed.
It further decided that VCs will keep close contact with local politicians and teachers' associations to avert any untoward incidents on the campus.
Speaking to The Daily Star, UGC member Prof Sazzad Hossain said the meeting discussed running universities after their reopening.
Asked whether it was held to discuss possible "anarchy" and "spread of militant propaganda" on the campuses, he said: "I don't see any concern about anarchy."
UGC Chairman Prof Kazi Shahidullah said he did not attend the meeting as he was busy with family affairs.