Bangladesh's premier Dhaka University has kick-started the process to revoke an expulsion order issued 62 years ago against the country's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
"We have decided to revoke the order to rectify an historic wrong done in the past," when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan, Vice-Chancellor Professor Arefin Siddiqui told PTI.
He said a process was underway to withdraw the May 19, 1948 order against one of its best known students at the University's law faculty. It coincides with the 35th death anniversary of Sheikh Mujib, popularly called Bangabandhu, who led Bangladesh to independence in 1971.
The University authorities at the "behest of the autocratic Pakistani government" had expelled Bangabandhu, a student leader at that time for extending his active support to a strike by class IV employees on the campus for pay hike and better service conditions.
Mujib, who later led the country's freedom movement, had rejected a fine imposed on him for heading the movement on the campus.
The decision to revoke the expulsion came amid demands from different political and social groups for "rectification of the historic wrong".
"We welcome the demand (and) we want to respectfully restore his (Bangabandhu’s) rights," Siddiqui earlier told the state-run BSS news agency, adding that by lending his support to the demands of the employees he groomed himself as the future leader of the Independence movement.
"His standing up against injustice even during his student days finally saw the emergence of Bangabandhu, who fought all his life for the political rights of the Bengalis," the Vice-Chancellor said.
The demand to revoke the expulsion has come from a number of organisations and letters have been addressed to President Zillur Rahman, who is the university's chancellor, a media report said.
Sheikh Mujib was gunned down at his home in a posh Dhanmandi area, along with his wife and three sons in a coup on August 15, 1975, hours ahead of his scheduled visit to the University as the chancellor.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, his eldest daughter, was abroad at the time and escaped the massacre.