Hasina government moves to quell campus violence

January 21st, 2009 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Chittagong (Bangladesh), Jan 21 (IANS) The newly installed Sheikh Hasina government has deployed the police to quell campus violence after Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists snapped telephone lines of the Chittagong University vice-chancellor’s office and drove out the deputy registrar, a media report said Wednesday. Four assistant proctors of the university submitted their resignation letters Tuesday to Vice-Chancellor (VC) Badiul Alam who accepted the resignations of three of them, The Daily Star said.

The developments came after the university authorities asked the police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to raid all dormitories and two fraternity houses of the university Monday night. BCL owes allegiance to the ruling Awami League.

The law enforcers could not find anything illegal in the dorms during their raid that ended early Tuesday.

Alam told The Daily Star newspaper Tuesday that the raid followed a directive from the government and the university authorities will provide all sorts of help to maintain congenial academic atmosphere at the university.

Universities and other educational educational institutions across Bangladesh, who are the nerve centres of political activity, have witnessed fights between BCL cadres and those of the Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The latter had dominated the campus scene with the Jamaat in power between 2001 and 2006. The BCL is now challenging that dominance.

Part of the problem, however, rests with the BCL itself that has not held elections in the last three years.

Office bearers and cadres at different levels have fought their own battles adding to the new government’s woes.

The Daily Star in an editorial last week called this “shenanigans” and reported that Hasina might dissolve all BCL bodies.

However, this has not happened.

The newspaper said the violence among BCL activists has ceased, but tension persists.

“A tense situation still prevails in many educational institutions although post-polls clashes involving BCL in several institutions have come to a halt.

“The feuding BCL leaders exercise restraint for the time being under pressure from Awami League (AL) high-ups,” it said quoting BCL sources.

Fresh intra-BCL clashes might occur any time at Jahangirnagar University (JU), Jagannath University, Rajshahi University and Shahjahal University of Science and Technology (SUST) if the existing problems in the student organisation are not solved immediately, the newspaper said.

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