Jagannath University students today stood in a human chain to press home a decade-old demand — they want their dormitories back.
Some 12 dormitories are currently occupied by different factions, the students alleged, including lawmaker of the area Haji Salim.
“Tibet Hall is currently occupied by Haji Salim, and a large shopping mall called Gulshanara City has been built in its place,” said Mahmud Rasel Mishu, joint secretary of Chatra Odhikar Parishad and a student of the university.
“Our seniors have seen the sign of Tibet Hall hanging on that spot till 2011,” alleged Mishu.
“The JnU authorities tell us that they do not have the paperwork needed to reclaim the dormitories, but we know that they can contest the occupying of at least 6 dormitories,” said Tausif Mahmud, a physics undergraduate student, taking part in the protest.
This newspaper has previously reported that in 2007 JnU hired an audit firm to locate its properties. The firm, Masih Muhith Haque & Co Consortium, in its report suggested that the university initiate moves to reclaim possession of six dormitories — Shaheed Anwar Shafique Hall, Shaheed Azmal Hossain Hall, Bani Bhaban, Shaheed Shahab Uddin Hall, Tibet Hall and Abdur Rahman Hall.
This newspaper has also reported that the property on which Tibet Hall used to be, is a vested property.
“We think that they are not trying to reclaim Tibet Hall because they are being strong-armed by powerful factions,” alleged Mishu.
Two of the occupied halls, Abdur Rahman Hall and Bani Bhaban can be classified as antiquities, being over a hundred years old.
The students of JnU have previously demonstrated for this demand in 2016 and 2014. In 2014, students demonstrating in front of Tibet Hall were beaten up by local goons, resulting in 50 injured.