Govt warnings go in vain
Higher educational institutions across the country are being shut down one after another following clashes involving Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League (AL), since AL-led government came to power following a landslide victory in the ninth parliamentary polls.
Yesterday Dhaka Medical College was declared closed sine die following a series of clashes between two BCL factions over establishing supremacy in its dormitory. Students of the college left the hostel by 4:00 pm yesterday as the authorities earlier asked them to vacate it by the stipulated time.
The government has been virtually failing to stop campus clashes taking place between two factions of BCL and between BCL and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Islami Chhatra Shibir.
A total of eight educational institutions including two public universities and two medical colleges remain closed following clashes that involved BCL leaders and activists in last three months even though Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned of stern action against the troublemakers.
Rajshahi University (RU) was closed sine die following sporadic clashes between BCL and ICS workers on March 13 that left an ICS leader killed and at least 100 injured. Later, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) and Rajshahi Medical College, Rajshahi College, Rajshahi Health Technology Institute, Rajshahi City College and Rajshahi New Government Degree College, Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute were declared closed for indefinite period to avert any untoward situation following the RU clash.
Of them, Rajshahi City College and Rajshahi New Degree College reopened this week.
Dhaka Polytechnic Institute remained closed following clashes between two factions of BCL while Jahangirnagar University faced unscheduled closure for several weeks last February following a daylong gunfight between the two factions.
The Jagannath University also became a battlefield early in February following daylong clashes between two BCL factions.
Besides, internal conflict among various BCL factions is continuing at the country's higher educational institutions. Around 20 BCL workers, including four females, were injured in BCL factional clashes at Dhaka University (DU) in last one month.
In a fresh incident, four BCL female workers were injured in a factional clash in Shamsunnahar Hall early yesterday. Around one hundred BCL men from DU Jagannath Hall hurled brickbats at the female hall compound after the incident in support of a group.
Some BCL leaders from its central committee alleged that though the clashes involving BCL men are taking place on the campuses, BCL President Mahmud Hasan Ripon and General Secretary Mahfuzul Haider Chowdhury Rotan are yet to take any steps or make any planning to bring the situation under control.
"They have no feeling. Even they are yet to talk to their unit leaders (at the universities/colleges) to avert clashes," a central unit BCL man told The Daily Star yesterday wishing anonymity.
The student wing of ruling AL is currently running with a central committee that has outlived its term. The tenure of existing Ripon-Rotan committee was over on April 4 last year.
When contacted, BCL President Mahmud Hasan Ripon said there is no internal conflict in the organisation and added that after the parliamentary elections, those activists who joined BCL from other student organisations are creating violence on campuses.