The new faction declares Nur, another leader Rashed unwanted
In an interesting turn of events, Bangladesh Chhatra Odhikar Parishad (Bangladesh Students' Rights Council), the quota reform movement platform, has split into two factions.
One of the factions announced a new committee of 22 at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday, naming the organization’s expelled leader APM Suhel as its convener.
Suhel, a postgraduate student of Jagannath University (JnU), was expelled from his post of joint convener of the platform as well as its JnU unit coordinator on May 4 this year, for breaching organizational rules.
The faction also declared the key leaders of Chhatra Odhikar Parishad persona non grata, including the joint convener of the platform, Nurul Haque Nur, and acting convener Muhammad Rashed Khan, accusing them of patronizing rapists and being linked to financial scandal.
It further claimed that Nur's Dhaka University (DU)-backed syndicate inside the platform made autocratic decisions several times, including the expulsion of Suhel.
Reacting to the development, Nur and Rashed alleged that the division occurred due to a conspiracy hatched by the government against their platform.
This comes at a time when Nur has been sued twice for allegedly abetting the rape of a DU student, with the reported survivor filing a third case against him on Wednesday.
There are currently at least eight cases against Nur, who has also been a target of at least seven physical attacks on different occasions in the past few years, following his emergence as one of the leading voices of the anti-quota movement.
The Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council – which spearheaded the quota reform movement in 2018 – was renamed Bangladesh Students' Rights Council on February 17 this year at the second founding anniversary of the organization.
The press meet
Reading out a statement at the media briefing, the new faction’s Member Secretary Ismail Samrat, Dhaka College coordinator of the previous platform, said they floated the faction since the organization derailed from its way.
"We are emerging with the former name of our organization as our forum moved away from its main goal, and got involved in nasty politics, financial scandals, and autocracy," he said.
The previous office-bearers, Samrat said, had been running the platform in an undemocratic manner.
"We condemn the politicization of the recent rape incident of a DU student at the hands of the key leaders [Mamun, Nur, Rashed, Faruk]. This is why we have to announce our new committee without them with our former name," Samrat added.
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Out of the 22 members of the committee, 14 are joint conveners, one is joint secretary, three are general members, and two are advisers.
Reaction from Nur and Rashed
When contacted, Nur said: "I think it is another conspiracy by the government to create factions among us.
"Only Suhel was involved with our platform from the beginning and was later expelled for violating organizational policies. I could not find our activists on their new list,” added Nur, also the former vice-president (VP) of DU Central Students' Union (Ducsu).
Although everyone has the democratic right to form any platform or do politics, people will choose the real Chhatra Odhikar Parishad which spearheaded the quota reformation movement, he concluded.
Issuing a statement later in the day, Rashed said he learnt the news of the faction being floated through media reports.
Echoing Nur’s sentiment on Suhel, he said Samrat, among others attending the press briefing, had joined in the platform’s quota protests in the past.
“But they were never a part of our organization,” Rashed argued, adding that the formation of the committee was part of the government’s conspiracy to oppress the platform and obstruct its functioning.