Leaders and activists of ruling Awami League’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League are again on prowl at different educational institutions though its top leaders had assured the students of taking the organisation above any controversy.
On January 21 and January 22, Chhatra League leaders and activists locked in infightings in Islamic University in Kushtia and Chittagong University and tortured four students at Dhaka University suspecting them to be activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir.
Educationists found the incidents unfortunate and unexpected and stressed the need of a positive change in student politics. They said that at places the offenders got support from the university administration. The university authorities should punish the offenders first, they observed.
On October 7, 2019, Chhatra League leaders tortured engineering student Abrar Fahad to death and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology expelled 26 students for their involvement in the murder in the face of massive protests. The BUET authorities also banned student politics on its campus after Abrar murder.
On January 21, at least 20 Chhatra League activists were injured in a clash between two factions of the organisation on the Islamic University campus in Kushtia.
Following the clash, Chhatra League activist Md Hanif Hossain lodged a case naming 11 leaders of Chhatra League, including the university unit president and general secretary, police said.
The police arrested university unit Chhatra League general secretary Rakibul Islam Rakib in the case on the same day, Kushtia police said.
The university authority on Wednesday also formed an investigation committee asking it to submit its report in seven days.
Chhatra League central committee on Friday formed a probe body to investigate into the clash, asking it to submit report in 10 days.
On January 22, at least five Chhatra League activists were injured in a series of clashes on the Chittagong University campus. One of the feuding factions enforced a strike on the campus from the next day forcing shuttle train service between the university and Chattogram city to stop.
On the night of January 23, the police raided two halls of residence and picked up 20 Chhatra League activists for their alleged involvement in the clashes, Hathazari police officer-in-charge Masud Alam said.
He said that they released all the 20 on Thursday night after taking undertakings as no case was lodged and the university authorities took them back.
The university proctor SM Monirul Hasan, talking to New Age, said that all these were an outcome of misunderstanding.
He refused to comment on why the police released the students detained for their suspected involvement in clashes.
On the night following January 21, Chhatra League leaders and activists tortured four students at Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall of Dhaka University with iron rods, hammer and sticks for two hours suspecting them activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir.
The hall provost Delwar Hossain after the incident said the university proctorial body and the hall administration handed over the four students to Shabagh police station around 2:00am on January 22.
Shahbagh police officer-in-charge Abul Hasan said that they released all the four on January 22 afternoon as their investigation found them to be innocent and not connected to Islami Chhatra Shibir.
He said that they did not arrest anyone for torturing the four as none filed any case with them.
Dhaka University proctor Golam Rabbani said that they already formed a probe body and action would be taken after receiving its report.
‘It is unexpected, unfortunate. University is the safest place for a student,’ said Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury.
He said that the students were tortured at their hall of residence which is considered to be a fully secured place for a student.
All the incidents portray the failure of the university administrations as they were not punishing the offenders and even hand over the victims to police, he said.
‘The proctors are not working. We cannot understand whether there is any hall provost or house tutor,’ he said, alleging that the administration were victimising the victims.
‘The situation will be worse if the university authorities fail to punish the offenders. If needed, they should take assistance from the law enforcement agencies,’ Dhaka University Bangla department supernumerary professor Abul Quasem Fazlul Huq said.
‘We need a change in the national and student politics. The politics should be clean,’ he said.
Terming the activities of Chhatra League ‘bad’, he stressed the need of good and active alternatives in student politics.
Chhatra League central president Al Nahian Khan Joy told New Age that they had formed investigation committee to probe Islamic University incident and would decide on Chittagong University incident in a day or two.
He said that they would take action in connection with Dhaka University incident as per actions taken by the university authorities.
Immediately after getting the charge of acting Chhatra League president on September 15, 2019, Nahian had said, ‘We will take the Chhatra League to a stage beyond controversy.’
He became acting president after Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury and Golam Rabbani were removed from the posts of Chhatra League president and general secretary for their controversial activities.