Bangla Version

Chhatra League at it again

CaptureSUNDAY’S attack by a Chhatra League group on Jagannath University students who were demanding an end to their problems of halls of residence is deplorable. Even top leaders, including the president and the general secretary, of the university unit of the Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League, as New Age reported on Monday, played the leading role in attacks that left at least 15 wounded. The Chhatra League people attacked the students when they were about to bring out a procession in the morning on the first day of their two-day strike to press for their demand for halls of residence. The students have been on demonstrations since August 1 boycotting classes and examinations. They are doing so as all of their halls are either illegally occupied by some ruling party-backed people or under construction for long leaving several thousand students to live in almost a subhuman condition in messes, that too for high cost. The demand and the protest of the students are legitimate and the Chhatra League group committed a culpable offence by unleashing the attack.
What is more unfortunate is that the university administration which failed to discharge its duty in giving adequate protection for students, who were exercising their constitutional rights to protests, in a peaceful manner, is yet to take any action against the attackers. That the police deployed there to keep order reportedly just played the role of onlookers during the attack is also ominous. Both the police and the university administration should remember that their apparent complicity in the attack will embolden the attackers to further engage in similar crimes in future, which is bane for the rule of law and the academic atmosphere of the university. One can recall here that ever since the Awami League assumed office in 2009, Chhatra League people have driven away their political rivals, especially activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the student wing of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, from campuses, including the university in question, to establish their absolute control there. Then they engaged in various other crimes such as extortion, rent-seeking, admission trade, tender manipulation, etc. They even engaged in frequent internecine clashes, many of which became fatal, on campuses allegedly over the share of the booty gained through such crimes. It is important to note that the police and the authorities of the educational institutions concerned failed to take any deterrent steps in almost all the cases. What is more regrettable is that even the prime minister failed to translate the tough words she uttered on several occasions against Chhatra League troublemakers into reality.
Chhatra League people, supposed to fight for student’s cause, similarly attacked students and even teachers on different campuses, including in Rajshahi and Kushtia, in the past few years, triggering a huge public criticism. It is high time that they were reined in for the sake of congenial academic atmosphere on campuses.

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