Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), who had an anti-liberation role in 1971, has now launched a campaign to free university campuses from student politics in a bid to gain dominance in the country’s educational institutions.
ICS, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, was listed as one of the top ten terrorist organizations in 2013. During the 1971 liberation war, this organization stood with Jamaat leaders in committing crimes of war.
Renée in 1979, this outfit activated campus activities, spreading radical views primarily to trivialize the liberation war, which led to a ban on its activities being imposed on some campuses instead.
“It has been Shibir’s constant strategy to neutralize organized student groups on campuses and he gets a free run to radicalize students,” said Awami League social media coordinator Tonmoy Ahmed.
Speaking in a webinar this week, he and other former Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders recounted Shibir’s violent attacks on fellow students opposed to their radical policies.
“In 2004, I was admitted to Rajshahi Medical College. Shibir leaders regularly launched machete attacks on Chhatra League supporters. Cutting tendons was their trademark,” said Dr Shah Alam, former medical student and now a doctor.
Joining the webinar, Dr. Alam, former secretary of Chhatra League in the DMC unit, recalled his heartbreaking experience.
“Soon after the BNP came to power in 2001, it became very difficult for Chhatra League students. They were not even allowed to stay in their dormitories and prevented from attending exams,” said he declared.
Recalling the horrific murder of a Rajshahi University student, Faruque, whose body was found in a manhole, Dr Alam said: “I saw his (Faruque) body thrown into a manhole. man by Shibir cadres after they cut his tendons and stabbed him in other parts of his body, leaving him in a pool of blood. This was after the Awami League returned to power in 2009”.
“While I was assisting admission seekers with the registration tests, I was attacked by about 20 Shibir executives who inflicted serious injuries on the back of my head,” said the Dr Alam.
Dipak Paul, another former Chhatra League leader from the Mymensingh Agricultural University unit, recounted the Shibir’s reign of terror.
“In 2001, when I was a sophomore, the Shibir gang attacked me, stabbed me until they could confirm that I was dead. However, after they left, I was taken to the hospital where I finally recovered from my injuries bears the marks.”
Paul, who now works with a leading research organization, was attacked while trying to stop Shibir executives from stealing ballot boxes in the 2001 national election.
Tonmoy Ahmed, who now leads the Awami League web team, also recalled how he was first slandered and then attacked in his village house where he went to celebrate Eid with his family.
A former Chhatra League secretary general of the country’s top engineering university, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Tonmoy, has been accused in Jamaat spokesman “Amar Desh” of beating a local mosque imam with a junior Arif Raihan Dweep.
A few days after the fake news, Dweep was brutally hacked by Shibir executives and died after battling his injuries for 83 days.
The attacker, currently out on bail, confessed that an imam’s provocative sermons influenced him in carrying out the murder.
Tonmoy was then attacked in his village house and left for dead with severe stab wounds and cuts.
“I had 130 stitches all over my body, but luckily I survived,” he said during the webinar.
Tonmoy, Paul and Alam – all victims of Shibir’s machete attacks – are under no illusions about why the radical Islamist group preaches against campus politics.
“It’s a shrewd ploy to leave students without strong campus-based organizations so that none can resist Shibir’s reign of terror and radicalization campaign,” the trio concluded during the webinar.
Responding to the debate on the formation of committees in private universities, the Minister of Education, Dr Dipu Moni, recently said that educational institutions cannot ban politics because students have the right to make Politics.
“There is a need for everyone, especially the students, to be aware of politics as they are the future of the country. Future leadership will come through this,” the education minister said.
“They have the right to do politics. But it’s their personal choice to follow a party or which party they will follow,” she said.