Saturday, January 9, 2010

Violence in Rajshahi Edn Institutions: 31 killed since '71

Saturday, January 9, 2010

At least 31 people, including 28 students, were killed and over 2,500 injured in some 61 incidents of violence at different educational institutions in Rajshahi since the country's independence.

Justice has hardly been meted out in any of the cases and in most cases the perpetrators got away with the crimes by exerting their political clout.

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of Awami League, was involved in two of the murders after the Awami League-led government came to power in 2009 greatly affecting the educational atmosphere in the city.

The latest incident of murder took place on Thursday following a clash between Bangladesh Chhatra League and Chhatra Moitree, student wing of Workers' Party. After the killing of Sunny, vice-president of Chhatra Moitree of Rajshahi Polytechnic Institute, the institution was closed indefinitely.

The government and the local leaders of the ruling alliance have miserably failed in restraining Chhatra League activists from internecine clashes and clashes with Islami Chhatra Shibir and Chhatra Moitree in the district.

The killing of Shibir leader Sharifuzzaman Nomani in March 2009 on Rajshahi University campus left all higher educational institutes of the city closed for 79 days.

After the murder, an all-party meeting with heads of the educational institutes, was able to, though for the time being, maintain a relatively congenial atmosphere on the campuses. That too now is gone as student organisations seldom obeyed the rules, campus sources said.

Shibir was the archrival of both Moitree and Chhatra League in the 90s but in the changed political atmosphere Chhatra League now regards both Moitree and Shibir as its main opponents in Rajshahi University.

Meanwhile, Sunny's father Monwarul Islam Chowdhury lodged a case with Boalia Police Station accusing 30 persons including the Polytechnic Institute Chhatra League president Nizam Uddin, general secretary Saddam Hossain Tushar, Nazmul Huda, Shariful Islam, Zahidul Islam Manik, Nahid Sarwar, Rahim, Rokon, Matin and Masum.

The police showed Nazmul, Shariful, Zahidul and Nahid arrested in the case and sent them to the court seeking a seven-day remand. Police arrested the four on Thursday.

After the killing, both Rajshahi mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton and local lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha, also Workers' Party politburo member, directed local police to arrest the killers even if they are members of Bangladesh Chhatra League.

However, a senior police official seeking anonymity told The Daily Star they are under pressure for not arresting Chhatra League leaders although the city BCL dissolved the Chhatra League Polytechnic Institute unit and expelled eight of its activists including Nizam and Tushar for their involvement in the killing.

Sunny was buried at Tikapara graveyard after the Jum'a prayers yesterday.

Meantime, Chhatra Moitree yesterday held a protest rally at Shaheb Bazar zero point and brought out a procession demanding arrest of Sunny's killers immediately.

City Moitree president Motiur Rahman spoke at the rally. He said Moitree would bring out a mourning procession in the city this afternoon.

Both Chhatra League and Chhatra Moitree blamed each other for the incident. City unit general secretary of Chhatra League Zedu Sarker said Moitree recruited Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal activists in their committee who were involved in beating up Chhatra League activists during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government. This led to the clash on Thursday.

City unit Chhatra Moitree president Matiur Rahman, however, blamed the local Chhatra League for accommodating several students with Shibir background in their party ranks.

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