BCL still controls Chittagong University halls

Shah Jalal Hall in Chattogram University

Chittagong University authorities announced allotment seats in the residential halls in September 2022. However,no students have been allotted seats although 16 months have elapsed. Ruling party student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) still controls the halls.

The university authorities itself said as many as 6,000 students applied for seats in two phases but did not get the seats. The CU authorities could not allot seats even for once in the last six months. Students are getting seats on condition that they will be involved with BCL politics. .

According to documents, the university currently has 14 residential halls and 12 of them are operational. Among the functioning halls, seven are for males tudents and the remaining 5 are for female students.

Allotment process is going on in female halls. Male students were allotted halls following due process for the last time in June 2017.

The authorities issued notification for seat allotment in 2019. Around 5,000 students applied for the allotment at that time. While the CU authorities published notice for seat allotment in September, 2022, a total of 1,060 students applied. None of them were allotted seats following procedure.

10 students told Prothom Alo that they can avail seats in the halls if they join BCL. But they think joining the ruling party student wing will hamper their studies and that’s why they wait for the decision of the authorities.

CU proctor Nurul Azim Sikder, however, claimed that seat allotment process has begun in some halls including Shah Amanat Hall.

But he failed to say details as to how many students were allotted to which halls.

Upon the proctor’s claim, this correspondent asked Shah Amanat Hall’s senior residential teacher Md Didarul Alam Chowdhury about the number of students allotted seats. He said the seat allotment process is yet to begin in the hall.

Provosts and teachers of six other halls also said the seat allotment process is yet to start in their halls.

 BCL has the control 

It has been a long standing allegation that the authorities don’t have any control over the halls in the university. There are a total of 1,088 seats.

The BCL leaders engaged in clashes on at least 24 occasions in the last six years to take control of these seats. At least 73 were injured during these clashes.  BCL does not have any committee in the campus. The committee was dissolved on 24 September due to the beating of a journalist, extortion and repeated clashes. After that, some leaders including president and secretary of the committee left the halls but most of the posted leaders remain. 

Investigation revealed that 9 BCL leaders mainly control seven halls.

Shahjalal Hall  is controlled by a BCL faction named Sixty Nine. Saidul Islam and Shamsuzzaman Chowdhury, the former joint general secretaries of the university unit BCL, are leading this faction. Shah Amanat Hall is controlled by the leader of ‘Choose Friends with Care’ faction and former vice president Mirza Khabir.

Alaol Hall is controlled by Bijoy Group’s leader and former joint general secretary Md Ilias. Suhrawardy, Shaheed Abdur Rab and AF Rahman halls are not controlled by any single group.

These three halls are under the control of former vice presidents Pradeep Chakraborty and Abu Bakar and former joint general secretary Ahsan Habib. None of them are students anymore.

BCL’s faction Epitaph controls Masterda Serja Sen Hall. Former drama and debate affairs secretary Sajjad Anam leads this faction. Although he was admitted to the university a decade ago, he still claims to be a student.

Asked about the situation, CU unit BCL’s former vice presidents Pradip Chakrabarty and Mirza Khabir, former joint general secretaries Md Ilias and  Saidul Islam told Prothom Alo that they will leave the rooms if the university authorities allot seats to students.

However, former joint secretary Ahsan Habib said, “The halls are under the supervision of Chhatra League. Only those involved with Chhatra League will reside in halls.”

CU’s former professor Md Sikandar Khan thinks the university authorities do not care about the seat allotment problem.The university authorities have to take stern action so that students are allotted seats as per rule.