Monday, January 2, 2012

BCL at it again

Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Awami League, yet again hogged the headlines, needless to say, for the wrong reasons. This time, its activists have allegedly taken charge of distributing seats at a residential hall of Dhaka University among freshers which is solely stipulated for the hall authorities concerned. According to a New Age report on Monday, a number of posters have been pasted on walls of the university arts faculty building asking the students, who are going to start their pursuit of higher education in the forthcoming 2011-12 session in the university, to contact three BCL activists of Zahurul Haque Hall unit in need of any accommodation at that hall. The posters bear the mobile numbers of those three BCL activists alongside the logo of the university seemingly to impress the former that they have been vested with the task by the university authority.

Accommodation crisis has long been very acute in Dhaka University like all other public universities across the country which, in fact, leads, particularly the first year students, to desperately look for seats at the residential halls of the university. On the other hand, with the apparent complicity of the administrations concerned, the student organisation, affiliated to the ruling party in particular, has usually tried to cash in on the situation in a bid to strengthen its control over the campus by alluring those sections of students. Unfortunately, it has become a general experience for years in Bangladesh that in the wake of assumption of power by a government, the administrations of all public universities, including Dhaka University, invariably undergo a reshuffle along the incumbents’ partisan line. Additionally, the leaders and activists of the ruling party’s student wing establish their control over the campus by driving out their opponents with the help, direct or indirect, of the administration concerned and law enforcing agencies. Needless to point out, the situation in different public universities is no exception under the incumbent Awami League-Jatiya Party government. Rather, in addition to all this, ever since it took office in 2009, the leaders and activists of Chhatra League engaged in extortion, abduction, rent seeking, admission trade, tender manipulation etc.

Meanwhile, in the face of huge criticism and protests on the part of conscious sections of the society and the media in particular, the key functionaries of the government and the AL, including the prime minister, have pledged on several occasions to take tough actions against the wrongdoers in chhatra league, in the past three years or so. But, regrettably, no action has been taken to make that pledge a reality thus far, which is, perhaps, why, the troublemakers in chhatra league have become emboldened to even extend their arc of criminalities.

Be that as it may, the university authorities immediately need to go tough, as the vice-chancellor told New Age, on the errant BCL activists, and streamline the hall administrations so that distribution of hall seats can be ensured only on the basis of the merit of the students. The government also needs to shun its policy to leave the unruly BCL workers unpunished.