Buet campus post-politics ban: ‘Good days at last’
The academic atmosphere, residential facilities, and food quality in hall-dining areas have significantly improved following the ban on student politics on Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) campus, said different stakeholders of the university.
Bullying and ragging culture in the dormitories have also seen a complete halt after the ban, according to students.
On October 11, 2019, Buet authorities banned student politics after Abrar Fahad, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering, was beaten to death by a group of Chhatra League (BCL) activists at the university's Sher-e-Bangla Hall between the night of October 6 and early hours of October 7.
At least 166 incidents of ragging were reported on a webpage named "UReporter" -- operated by a section of computer science and engineering students -- till October 10, 2019.
It is obvious that many positive changes have taken place on the campus recently. Most importantly, there is harmony among the students now.
Not a single incident of assault, ragging or forcing to attend BCL's political programmes were reported in the page since the ban came into effect.
Seeking anonymity, a final-year student of the university told this newspaper that freshers used to be tortured regularly in guest-rooms of the dormitories. Students of other batches were subjected to this torture as well if they dared to upset BCL seniors with their words or actions.
Another student described how senior students who were active in BCL politics would pressurise freshers to attend BCL programmes.
"We were given no other option but to comply. Sometimes, we had to attend programmes after returning from classes at noon, even if we had a lab test in an hour. We couldn't even have lunch and prepare for exams."
However, both students and the administration are more conscious and stricter regarding ragging now.
"There is a peaceful environment in the halls now, with seniors being more friendly to us," said a fresher at Buet's Sher-e-Bangla Hall.
Before the ban, BCL leaders used to become mess managers using their political influence. In the process, they would misappropriate money, which would result in subpar quality of food, said several students and dining staffers.
They claimed that there was no accountability on the part of these managers.
No one dared to talk against them fearing repercussions from BCL activists.
Some hall staffers and canteen managers also mentioned that previously, they had to give a certain amount of their earnings to BCL activists and would be tortured if they refused to do so.
"We could not make any profit from the venture, which pushed us towards providing substandard food," they said.
A canteen manager, wishing anonymity, said BCL leaders and activists used to dine in the canteens without paying for the food.
"On one occasion, one of them snatched money from our accounts to buy cigarettes," he said.
"We went through unimaginable torture for this reason. Now, we are finally at peace," said another canteen staffer.
Some teachers of the university also claimed that after the ban on politics came into effect, the campus has seen a lot of progress, with significant improvement in the overall environment.
"Buet's academic and overall environment is way better now. The ban on politics is one of the major reasons," he said.
Contacted, Buet Vice Chancellor Satya Prasad Majumder said, "It is obvious that many positive changes have taken place on the campus recently. Most importantly, there is harmony among the students now."