by Fahmidul Haq
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Dhaka University and Rajshahi University saw another period of clashes between two of its largest political student wings last week, giving rise to new chaos in the country’s educational sector. However, the incidents were not actually clashes, but a one-sided attack on Chhattra Dal, the student wing of the BNP activists by the Chhattra League men (student wing of Awami League).
The university authorities and police officials both turned a blind eye to the Chhattra League attacks. The attacks injured around 25 activists in Dhaka University and 11 in Rajshahi University.
In both the cases, Chhattra League activists snooped on Chhattra Dal activists and beat them up when they tried to enter the university campus. Opposition’s student wing Chhattra Dal’s attempt to enter the campus following the opposition calling an indefinite movement to bring down the government, and barring them from doing so should be considered as part of the national politics.
Starting from January 18, 2010, Chhattra Dal has been barred from holding any programmes in Dhaka University, meanwhile, Rajshahi University has been observing a ban on any kind of rallies or gatherings since May 19, 2009. Thus, for the last two-three years, the two political student wings have been ruling the campus in their own terms.
Both of the attacks are also very similar. Gaining more support is quite vital to make the opposition movements successful. But, Chhattra Dal is almost absent in both the campuses. And therefore this time, in Dhaka University they tried to enter the campus saying that they wanted to meet the vice-chancellor, and in Rajshahi University, saying that they want to celebrate Khaleda Zia’s homecoming anniversary. In both cases, they were barred by Chhattra League activist, while police officials watched in silence.
In both of the universities, Chhattra League accused the Chhattra Dal of entering the campus in a bid to create anarchy and destabilize the campus. In both the cases, police accused the Chhattra Dal activists of instigating the clash. A small number of activists were arrested in both incidents, all belonging to Chhattra Dal.
Chhattra League has been on a spree of brutal violence. On 8th May, they set ablaze 42 rooms of MC Collage in Sylhet. On 2nd September, they attacked on a rally of general students, who were demanding construction of a foot-over bridge at Shahbagh intersection. Chhattra League activists also attacked BUET’s protesting general students.
Meanwhile, two fractions of Chhattra League in Kustia’s Islamic University have also been accused of taking huge bribes in the university’s staff recruitment process. On 5th September, they suspended operations of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology over the appointment of its chief engineer.
Everyone has the right to do politics in the campus. But in past regimes of several governments, it is quite apparent that university authorities, together with support from the police, have created an open field for unruly activists and their organizations, in the campus.
During the last government’s period, Chhattra League activists similarly lived in abstainia from the campuses. And so, characteristics of both the major student wings are very much alike. And also, it is not that the ruling-party thugs keep the campus peaceful by driving out the opposition-leaned organizations. They are mainly busy fighting within themselves over the share in tenders, recruitment and other similar businesses of the campuses.
On the side, Chhattra League activists wait for their rewards for thrashing Chhattra Dal activists, while opposition-leaned students wait for the change in the government to claim their prizes.
The government, politicized university administrations and the opposition – all are now playing dirty politics with these universities.
Until and unless there is a change in the country’s political culture, there is no hope for these universities to come out of these political tangles.