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Demonstration against illegal enrolment: Protesting students attacked on DU campus

  • Published at 02:22 pm September 18th, 2019
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Clash between protesters under 'DU against Corruption' banner and alleged Chhatra League members on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

They were attacked around 1pm on Wednesday

A group of students staging a protest against the illegal enrolment of former and incumbent Bangladesh Chhatra League members at Dhaka University, were attacked on campus around 1pm yesterday.

The students were staging a protest under a banner of “DU against corruption,” demanding the resignation of the university’s vice-chancellor and business faculty dean for reportedly giving preferential treatment to 34 Chhatra League leaders, who were admitted to the Master of Tax Management (MTM) course in the Banking and Insurance department.

They also demanded the resignation of Ruqayyah Hall Provost Zeenat Huda, the hall union vice president, and the general secretary, for their alleged involvement in taking bribes for recruiting hall staff. 

Dhaka Universiy students stage a protest in front of proctor office on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 |Dhaka TribuneAsif Mahmud, a second year Linguistics department student and activist of the quota reformation platform, Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council (BGSRPC), was injured in the attack.

He was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) with injuries to his left eye.

Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Socialist Student Front, Chhatra Federation, BGSRPC, and Swatantra Jote leaders and activists, took part in the protest under the anti-graft banner.

Shrobona Shafique Dipti, a fellow activist in “DU against Corruption,” said: “Chhatra League activists, under the guise of general students, carried out the attack during our scheduled protest program.”

Attackers: DU unit Chhatra League

Reviewing the video, Dhaka Tribune found that former executive member of Chhatra League central committee, Mahfuzur Rahman Imon, and Sabbir Hossain Shovon, member of Masterda Surja Sen hall unit Chhatra League, were involved in the attack.

Asif Mahmud, a second year student of Dhaka University was injured during the clash |CollectedBoth of them are followers of DU unit Chhatra League President Sonjit Chandra Das.

Contacted over the phone, Sonjit denied the allegations and said that Chhatra League men did not attack any protesters. 

He said: “I sent Mahfuzur Rahman Imon to observe the situation.”

Notably, Sonjit is one of those 34 'illegal' enrollments that was being protested. 

The protesters claimed that many of the attackers were the henchmen and followers of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) Assistant General Secretary (AGS) and DU unit Chhatra League General Secretary, Md Saddam Hussain. 

Among the attackers, Abu Younus, AGS of Bijoy Ekattar Hall union, Redwan Dipu, an activist of the same hall unit of Chhatra League, Mehedi Hasan Mizan, GS of Haji Muhammad Mohsin Hall union, Imam Ul Hasan, student scholarship affairs secretary of Kabi Jasimuddin Hall, and Al Imran, activist of Muktijoddha Ziaur Rahman Hall, led the assault with their fellow attackers, including first and second years students, who beat the protesters. 

All were followers of Saddam.

Contacted, Saddam Hossain said: “Chhatra League has no connection to this incident. This is an unwanted incident that happened between two groups of students. I have no supporters in the university.”

How was the attack carried out?

Earlier in the morning, Chhatra League activists from Jagannath Hall, Haji Muhammad Mohsin hall, Bijoy Ekattar Hall, and Zahurul Haq Hall brought out a procession as "General Students of DU" on the premises of the Business Faculty for their four-point demand, including 20% reserve seats for DU students in the evening masters program. 

They went to the office of the faculty dean to submit a memorandum.

Dhaka University students gathered at Faculty of Business Studuies premises on September 18, 2019 |Dhaka TribuneThe anti-graft protesters and these Chhatra League activists came to a face to face confrontation situation. Following an altercation, Chhatra League activists carried out the attack in front of two assistant proctors of the university, said eyewitnesses. 

After the attack, the protestors went to the proctor’s office to notify him of the attack, but could not reach him.

DU Proctor AKM Golam Rabbani then said: “I am in a meeting. If the students have any complaint, they can submit it in writing to the assistant proctor. We will definitely take appropriate actions against those proven guilty.”

They also brought out a procession and paraded towards the Business Faculty around 1:40pm after failing to speak to the proctor.

Later, the protestors started chanting slogans demanding exemplary punishment of the attackers.

Left-leaning student wings and Ducsu Vice President Nurul Haque Nur expressed solidarity with the protesting students.

Joining the protest, Nur said: “The ruling party’s student body carried out the attack on general students who made some logical demands.”

He also demanded exemplary punishment of the attackers.

Dean Shibli pronounced 'persona non grata'

Later, Nur and a delegation of the protesters entered the Dean's room for discussion. 

Coming out for the meeting, one of the delegates, Rageeb Nayeem, general secretary of DU unit Chhatra Union, announced Dean Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam persona non grata. Quoting Shibli, Rageeb said: "He told us about his unawareness of Chhatra League's attack and he told us that we are not his students... So we can say that he is not our teacher." 

According to media reports, former and current leaders of the ruling party’s student front enrolled in an evening masters program course to continue their studentship after announcement of the Ducsu and hall union polls on February 11 this year. However, the admission test for the course was held on November 30, 2018, well before their enrollment in the masters program course.