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BCL does not hide its intention to rule BUET campus

Showdown staged to intimidate general students

Campus 2024-04-01, 9:42am


BCL, student associate of AL staged a showdown on BUET campus on Sunday.

Dhaka, March 31: Bangladesh Chhatra League, the ruling Awami League's powerful student front, staged a large counter-rally on Sunday against the ongoing movement of BUET students to keep their campus ringfenced from student politics. 

The BCL rally left no room for any more doubt that they believe it is time for the BUET authorities to lift the ban imposed on student politics in October 2019, following the macabre killing of Abrar Fahad by a group of BCL activists in a BUET dorm. 

They demanded reintroduction of student politics in BUET.

The BCL protest rally started around 12pm on Sunday.

As per the announcement, the rally was scheduled to start at 11 am.  Before  starting the rally, the leaders and activists gathered at the Central Shaheed Minar with processions joining in from different halls of Dhaka University and various units of Chhatra League's Dhaka Metropolitan units.  Leaders and activists kept coming towards Shaheed Minar shouting slogans aimed at painting the apolitical student body of BUET in a communal light.

Imtiaz Hossain Rahim Rabbi, a BUET student who has been acting to facilitate the return of BCL, and with them student politics, to the BUET campus and had his residential seat subsequently cancelled, could be seen at the front of the procession.

BCL president Saddam Hussain delivered an 'ultimatum' to the university administration to reintroduce student politics 'without delay'.  Besides, he demanded the restoration of Rabbi's residential seat.

"From this rally we are requesting BUET administration to restart student politics in the campus immediately.  The rule you imposed (banning student politics)is a black law.  There is nothing in the university ordinance that allows you to ban student politics.  It is unconstitutional."

The student body of BUET has been protesting the latest attempt by the BCL leaders and activists to return to the BUET campus as a political entity, that started late last Wednesday (past midnight) with Rabbi inviting the BCL president to the campus and facilitating his entrance.

After that some BCL committee members garlanded their president, marking it out as a distinctly political activity.

Word got around of this seemingly harmless but highly meaningful incident that was meant to act as an icebreaker for BCL's return to the campus throughout Thursday, and the tension around the campus grew palpably.

On Friday, the general students, who over the last 5 years have vigilantly guarded their campus against the often ruinous student politics afflicting many other institutions in the country today, announced they would be boycotting all academic activities including term final exams that were held on Sunday with abysmally low attendance.

The general students have formally asked for a new date to be set for the exams.

After the protest, BCL leaders and activists formed a procession and marched toward BUET Shahid Minar around 2.20 pm and submitted floral bouquets. 

Students reject BCL claims

Following the show of strength by BCL, the general students of BUET were forced to clarify how their opposition to student politics on campus does not mean they oppose the spirit of the Liberation War of 1971.

They organised a press conference in front of Dr. MA Rashid administrative building around 5.15pm on Sunday.

Representatives of the general student body said BUET students strongly believe in the spirit of the Liberation War and independence. 

"Not wanting student politics on campus does not mean moving away from the ideology of the Liberation War.  Rather we students do not want lust for power and greed to hold BUET hostage again," they said.

"We are against Hizb ut Tahrir.  If any student is found to be affiliated with such groups, they too should be dismissed."

One of the canards floated by the BCL as part of their tactics to force their way back to BUET has been that the Jamaat e Islami student front  Shibir, and the banned Hizbut Tahrir were secretly active among the students in favour of keeping student politics banned and keeping the campus safe.

The general students insisted they are determined to prevent the emergence of such 'evil forces' in BUET.

The students also said that they are willing to resume their academic activities as long as their demands, mainly relating to preserving the ban on student politics and taking action against certain individuals to prevent the repetition of such attempts by BCL in future, are met.

Even before the ban was  imposed in 2019, the Awami League's two successive governments at that point had successfully ensured a dominant position for their student front on campuses throughout the country.

Analysts say it was only a matter of time before BCL eyed the coveted BUET, revered as the most prestigious of all DU departments and institutes, again.

Their demand for resumption of student politics must be seen as actually a demand to let them resume their domination of the campus, since no other student front is in any position to challenge them.

As the AL regime has gone from strength, BCL has grown more and more powerful, even exercising influence over teacher recruitment in some universities around the country, tender selection and awarding of contracts for university infrastructure or services like catering, and of course controlling the distribution of hall seats. - UNB