Thursday, May 23, 2024

Campus violence: No end in sight: Public varsities, colleges mostly affected

Md Jamal Uddin
Unrest is prevailing in higher educational institutions across the country, reportedly launched by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), soon after Awami League came to power.
The BCL, the student wing of ruling Awami League, are widely blamed for masterminding the violence in the campus.
BCL factional clash, encroachment of rival students dormitories by unleashing a reign of terror, lack of chain of command and toll collection at different places are considered to be the causes for volatile situation in different educational institutions.
Rival students, more or less, are coming under attack by BCL activists at all educational institutions, especially in Dhaka University almost every day resulting in suspension of academic activities including classes and examinations.
In each university and even colleges and medical colleges, BCL have several groups that almost took control of the respective areas driving out its opponents Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Chhatra Shibir.
Several hundreds of student activists suffered injuries in the clashes on the campuses of around 20 educational institutions, including Dhaka University, Rajshahi University, Chittagong University, Jahangirnagar Universitry, Jagannath University, Dhaka College, Dhaka Medical College, Khulna Medical College, Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute, Government Homeopathic Degree College, and Government Ayurvedic College.
Over 20 incidents of violent activities, including gunbattle took place among BCL factions in Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka University, Jagannath University, Chittagong University, Rajshahi University, different medical colleges and other public colleges.
The authorities have, however, taken no significant action so far against persons responsible for those violent activities.
At least 20 BCL leaders were injured, most of them chopped repeatedly, on Dhaka University campus in the last 20 days.
Besides the BCL activists have started realising extortion in different places. Sources said they stopped work of a 10-storied building of the Dhaka University demanding Tk40 lakh as toll. They also wanted Tk 8 lakh from transport department Tk 6 lakh from Convocation programme and Tk 10 lakh from under construction building.
Meanwhile, BCL central committee suspended its JU unit for a month following two days’ internal clashes. But it has failed to take any action against the BCL leaders who have kept Chittagong University inactive for several days demanding resignation of the vice-chancellor.
Top Awami League leaders including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered BCL central president and general secretary to stop the violence of the organisation across the country.
In line with government instruction State Minister for Home Affairs Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj said offenders will be punished irrespective of party lines.
He also said, “We are monitoring the situation at different universities and colleges so that we can take instant measures to prevent any untoward incident and ensure safety and security of students and teachers.”
Party insiders said the violence occurred as the BCL chain of command collapsed completely over establishing supremacy on the campus. A total lack of coordination among the rank and file of the student body is also there following expiry of all its committees including the central one, they added
Dhaka University: BCL captured all the dormitories of the university in the night of on 29 December when they were observing the result of the election was going to their party.
During capturing dormitories, they ransacked the rooms of its rivals and beat up those who were present in that night and later. For this reason, thousands of students are living out of the campus.
Besides, BCL locked into inter-group clash over supremacy at the hall that left 20 injured at Ziaur Rahman Hall on January 10. Internal problem of the organisation is prevailing in almost all dormitories.
Jahangirnagar University: A fierce clash between activists of two factions of BCL in Jahangirnagar University on Friday left at least 30 injured. Around 40 bullets were fired in the clash, although none were reported to have been bullet hit. Police were forced to fire some 30 rounds of teargas canisters to bring the situation under control.
Jagannath University: BCL captured the university by beating up a JCD activist. Besides, they injured 20 JCD activists in different times over occupation.
On January 17, a clash occurred between two groups of BCL activists of the university leaving about 25 injured from both groups including journalists.
Chittagong University: where BCL failed to occupy the dormitories. Being failed, they demanded resignation of VC of the university. To meet their demand, they even locked VC office along with other academic buildings.
Rajshahi University: BCL Rajshahi University unit is trying to capture the university as a result sporadic incidents are occurring on the campus. On Thursday, two teachers and two journalists came under attack of the organisation when they went to assault an activist of rival group.
Dhaka College: JCD and Shibir activists left the campus after hearing the defeat of four-party alliance in the election. Later, BCL activists divided into three groups felt into a clash that left at least 15 injured.
RUET: a total of 14 students were injured by BCL activists at the Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) on January 8. after this incident, university authority postponed all examination. Later, Rajshahi City Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton mitigated the problem by political understanding.
Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute: at least 10 persons were injured in a string of clashes between activists of BCL and Biplobi Chhatra Moitree on Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute campus on Friday night.
Khulna Medical College: college authority closed medical college in a sequel to a clash between BCL and Shibir.
BL College: The college has been closed sine die while BCL locked into a clash with Shibir over supremacy on the campus.
DU Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique declared that he would create congenial atmosphere on the campus where all students even political organisations will get equal opportunity.
But he will take action against those who will create anarchy on the campus.


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