Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), in observation of the month of mourning, has held candlelight vigils in various places of the country. By doing so, the Awami League student wing is symbolsing its respect for the father of the nation, and is seeking enlightenment by removing the darkness in society.
However, the BCL leaders and activists do not actually seem to be moved by either the spirit of mourning or the symbolic candlelight.
Former vice president of Sylhet BCL Sujel Talukder and the general secretary Rajan have been at loggerheads for long. They were the cadres for the two leaders of city and district Awami League.
The leaders and activists of the two groups opened fire at each other Akhalia Noapara of Sylhet city on Wednesday evening. When a local resident Abdul Munim asked them to stop their fighting and leave the area, one of the groups left. But another group attacked his home, leaving Abdul Munim and his daughter Maisha injured. During the shootout, a Chhatra League leader Rakib Ahmed was shot on his way to his sister's house in Kalibari. Five others were injured in the incident.
Innocent passersby were killed and injured during internal clashes of BCL earlier too. Now they are entering people’s homes and attackingthem. This has alarmed the people of Sylhet and the rest of the country.
A few days ago, BCL activists in Maulana Bhasani Hall and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall pened fire at each other over distributing sweets. Several leaders have lost their lives in such infightings in Chattogram at various times.
BCL’s infighting in Sylhet is nothing new. BCL activists burned down the MC College hostel following clashesetween two groups of BCL in 2002. A leader was killed in a collision between two groups at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) on 27 November. He was a student at International University in Sylhet. People demanded punishment of the criminals and called for peace to be restored in the city.
But all the rhetoric about peace is just a farce. Today even schoolchildren are not safe from Chhatra League's attacks.
Awami League’s general secretary urged all to take part in anti-dengue drive, irrespective of their party. Sylhet Chhatra League activists are busy fighting rather tan responding to the call. How many innocent more people will be hurt in BCL's conflicts? How many more will be shot?
The main objective of student politics is the welfare of the students. The elected representatives are supposed to resolve their problems. There is no student parliament in any educational institution except Dhaka University. Elections had been held up for 28 years. Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU) is almost ineffective due to differences between the leaders. The event organised by DUCSU at Dhaka University premises on Bangla new year was vandalised due to clashes between two groups of the DU BCL president and general secretary.
The very name of BCL now invokes fear. There were fights between rival student organisations in the past. Now there is no activity of any other organisation other than BCL on the university campus. As a result, the leaders and activists of this student body are fighting with each other on and off campus. They are also accused of vandalism and extortion. When will this horror in the name of student politics end?