Shibir's strategy is to neutralise student groups on campus: Ex BCL leaders
Islami Chhatra Shibir, which had anti-liberation role in 1971, now started a campaign to make university campuses free of student politics in an attempt to gain its domination in the country's educational institutions.
Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, was ranked as one of top 10 terror organisations back in 2013. During the 1971 Liberation War, this outfit stood beside Jamaat leaders' in perpetrating war crimes.
Reborn in 1979, this outfit activated campus activities, spreading radical views mostly to trivialise the Liberation War led to impose a ban on its activities in some campuses instead.
"This has been Shibir's consistent strategy to neutralise organised student groups in campuses and it gets a free run to radicalise students," said Awami League's social media coordinator Tonmoy Ahmed.
Speaking at a webinar this week, he and other former Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders recounted Shibir's violent attacks on other students opposed to their radical politics.
"Back in 2004, I got admission to Rajshahi Medical College. The Shibir leaders carried out machete attacks regularly against Chhatra League supporters. Cutting tendons was their trademark," said Dr Shah Alam, a former medical student and now a doctor.
Joining the webinar, Dr Alam, a former Chhatra League secretary in the DMC unit, recalled his harrowing experience.
"Soon after BNP came to power in 2001, it became very difficult for Chhatra League students. They were not allowed to even stay at their dormitories and prevented from attending examinations," he said.
Recalling the gruesome killing of a Rajshahi University student Faruque, whose body was recovered from manhole, Dr Alam said: "I saw his (Faruque) body thrown into a manhole by Shibir cadres after they had cut his tendons and stabbed him on other parts of his body, leaving him in a pool of blood. This was after Awami League had returned to power back in 2009".
"While assisting admission seekers during enrolment test, I was attacked by around 20 Shibir cadres who inflicted serious injuries on the back of my head", Dr Alam recounted.
Dipak Paul, another former Chhatra League leader of Mymensingh Agricultural University unit, recounted the Shibir's reign of terror.
"In 2001, when I was a second year student, the Shibir gang attacked me, stabbed me until they could confirm I was dead. However, after their departure, I was taken to hospital where I finally recovered my injuries. But my body still bears the marks."
Paul, now works with a top research organisation, was attacked while trying to stop the Shibir cadres from snatching ballot boxes during the 2001 national elections.
Tonmoy Ahmed, who now runs Awami League's web team, also recalled how he was first maligned and then attacked at his village home where he had gone to celebrate Eid with family.
A former Chhatra League general secretary of the country's top engineering university Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Tonmoy was blamed in Jamaat mouthpiece "Amar Desh" for beating up an Imam of a local mosque together with a junior Arif Raihan Dweep.
Few days after the fake news, Dweep was brutally hacked by Shibir cadres and died after battling his wounds for 83 days.
The attacker, now on bail, confessed that provocative sermons by one Imam influenced him carrying out the killing.
Tonmoy was then attacked in his village home and left to die with severe stab and cut wounds.
"I had 130 stitches all over my body but luckily survived," he told the webinar.
Tonmoy, Paul and Alam -- all victims of Shibir's machete attacks -- have no illusions about why the Islamist radical group preaches against campus politics.
"It is a clever ploy to leave students without strong campus based organisations so that none can resist Shibir's reign of terror and its radicalisation campaign," the trio concluded during the webinar.
Responding to the debate over forming committees at private universities, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has recently said educational institutions cannot ban politics because students have the right to do politics.
"It is necessary for everyone, especially students, to be conscious of politics because they are the future of the country. Future leadership will come through this," the education minister said.
"They have the right to do politics. But it is their personal choice whether to follow any party or which party they will follow," she said.