Let rival student bodies coexist, love and check each other

The government has taken timely steps against two erring top leaders of BCL as complaints of seeking a share of development project money of Jahangirnagar University has come out in the open. The allegation has been made by none else than the vice-chancellor of the university Prof Farzana Islam herself. BCL is the student associate of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League. Jahangirnagar University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Farzana Islam who has been facing a strong movement against corruption in her university campus, from the month of August came out with her direct allegations against the two top BCL leaders President Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon and General Secretary Golam Rabbani after they recently made public a statement that the VC had paid Taka 1.6 crore to the BCL Jahangirnagar University unit leaders.
The BCL JU unit President Jewel Rana dismissed the allegation made by the central BCL leaders. He has been quoted to have said, ‘Rabbani was giving false statements to the media. The central leaders met the vice-chancellor on August 8 without informing us,’ The VC in a statement to the JU journalists alleged that the two BCL leaders who have since been dismissed had asked for 4-6 percent of the project money as their share and sought it to be collected from contractors who have been awarded the project work worth Taka 14.4 billion.
BCL’s dismissed president Shovon has resigned from the Dhaka University Senate where he used to represent the students of the university. Golam Rabbani has sought forgiveness of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is also the chief of BCL. The Vice-President of the Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) Nurul Haque Nur, the lone non-BCL member to be elected to the union in the controversial election of 11 March last, has sought resignation of Golam Rabbani who is its General Secretary, because of the allegations of corruption against him.
Students and teachers of Jahangirnagar University who are waging a movement against corruption in the institution’s mega-development project are pressing for the resignation of VC Prof. Farzana Islam by October 1, or else they would declare her persona non-grata in the university. The story that has emerged so far is of an unprecedented nature. The VC is said to have already made a handsome payment to the student leaders from the project money.
In Dhaka University, the premier university in the country, a procession of general students protesting the corruption by BCL leaders and admission to the university of some of its members allegedly without admission test, came under attack on Wednesday, September 18. One of the protecting students was injured seriously and taken to the hospital for treatment. While the protesters blamed the BCL for the attack, DU BCL leaders rejected the allegation saying that the fight was between two rival factions of the protesting students.
Student organizations are active particularly in the 45 public universities in Bangladesh. Private Universities which are 91 in number discourage student politics, and violence over the establishment of supremacy in those is rarely seen. BCL has been in control of the 45 public universities and its respective university units interfere in the allotment of seats in the student-dormitories apart from asking for a share in development activities. Opposition student organizations are virtually non-existent in the public universities, say their students.
University insiders say excesses by the student leaders would not have exceeded limits to such an extent had there been peaceful coexistence of all student organizations on the campus. For the last one decade, BNP’s student associate Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) has remained virtually ousted from the premises of public universities. Activities of some left student-organisations are visible in some public universities from time to time but have not emerged as alternative leaders. The parent political parties of these left student-bodies are mostly allies of the ruling Party – AL, they say.
– Mostafa Kamal Majumder