A progressive students’ alliance on Wednesday called for a nationwide strike on January 29, protesting Tuesday’s attack on students by Chhatra League members and to press home demands for the DUCSU polls.
Meanwhile, Chhatra League men reportedly attacked student representatives of other political parties across the nation also on Wednesday.
Other demands made by the alliance included calls for the immediate punishment of the Chhatra League members involved in attacks on students on January 15 and on Tuesday, January 13, for DU authorities to bear the medical expenses of those injured in the incident, and for the withdrawal a case filed against 50 unnamed students.
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The student alliance’s convener Imran Habib Rumon announced the demands at a press conference held at Madhur Canteen of Dhaka University on Wednesday morning. Students under the banner of “Students against Repression” expressed solidarity with the alliance in a separate press conference on the same day.
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Members of the progressive students' alliance hold a press conference at Madhur Canteen of Dhaka University on January 24, 2018 Dhaka Tribune
“We suspect Chhatra League carried out planned attacks on students on Tuesday to foil attempts to bring about the DUCSU polls, despite the High Court having directed to hold the election within six months,” Rumon said, adding that a teacher-student solidarity rally would be held at the base of the Raju Sculpture of DU on January 26.
Students against Repression convener Masud Al Mahdi said their activists had been protesting for the DUCSU polls in front of the DU VC’s office on Tuesday, and the VC had attempted to avoid speaking to them by leaving through the back door. When the students stopped the VC from leaving to voice their demands, Chhatra League men attacked them.
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However, Chhatra League leaders also organized a press conference on Wednesday, under the banner “Conscious students of DU” at the base of the Aparajeyo Bangla statue, demanding the expulsion of students who allegedly harassed the VC and attacked female Chhatra League members on Tuesday.
“Perpetrators who assaulted and dishonored the vice-chancellor and our sisters (female Chhatra League leaders) must be expelled within 24-hours,” said Chhatra League General Secretary Jakir Hossain.
Chhatra League President Saifur Rahman Sohag, unit President Abid Al Hasan and General Secretary Motahar Hossain Prince also spoke at the program.
On Tuesday, at least 30 students were injured as Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders and activists attacked the DU students who had besieged the DU vice-chancellor in his office for several hours.
Chhatra League attacks students in three districts
Bangladesh Chaatra League activists on Wednesday attacked students representing other political parties at three different educational institutions outside Dhaka.
At least 10 people, including the Samajtantrik Chhatra Front general secretary, its city unit president and general secretary, sustained injuries after Chhatra League men attacked Samajtantrik Chhatra Front activists at Sylhet MC College.
The members of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front were holding a procession to mark its anniversary at the MC College Shaheed Minar when the attack took place, said Samajtantrik Chhatra Front convener Sadia Tasnim Nowshin.
She said the Chhatra League members attacked after they claimed that the procession was related to the ongoing conflict at Dhaka University.
Sylhet Metropolitan Police Shah Poran police station officer in-charge Akhter Hossain said additional law enforcement officials had been deployed to deal with the escalating clashes between student activists of political parties, that began with student protests for the scrapping of DU’s affiliation with seven Dhaka-based colleges on January 11.
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Chhatra League leaders of the MC College unit were unavailable for comment.
In addition, two students of the progressive students’ alliance were attacked by Chhatra League members at the Shaheed Minar area of Chittagong University at 1pm on Wednesday.
The injured are CU Chhatra Front former convener Fazle Rabbi and member Rizu Lokkhi.
Police and eyewitnesses said the alliance had brought out a procession to the area when the attack took place.
Chhatra League leader Saiful Karim Jewel, who was present at the time of the attack, claimed members of the alliance were chanting negative slogans and attacked them first.
Furthermore, Chhatra League activists, led by RU unit President Golam Kibria and General Secretary Faisal Ahmed Runu, allegedly also impeded a protest against Tuesdays attack on students outside the DU VC’s office at Rajshahi University Central Library.
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A Chhatra League procession near the central library of Rajshahi University on January 24, 2018 Dhaka Tribune
Chhatra League had reportedly organized a rally at the same location, and pushed aside the other protesters despite them acting peacefully, said Kendriya Sangskritik Jote former president Abdul Majid Antar.
RU Chhatra League General Secretary Faisal Ahmed Runu claimed any pushing was unintentional, while President Golam Kibria alleged the other protesters were chanting negative slogans.
Ain o Salish Kendra condemns Chhatra League attack
Human rights organization Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) has condemned Tuesday’s attack by Chhatra League activists on students protesting outside the DU VC’s office.
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ASK also voiced their concern at the failure of DU authorities to bring the situation under control.
“Ain o Salish Kendra believes the overall law and order situation of the university has deteriorated, which cannot be accepted anyway,” the rights body said in a press release.
It added that the DU VC and proctor needed to responsibly play their roles as guardians of the students.