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Accused criminals, drug dealers in new Chhatra League committee

  • Published at 03:25 pm May 14th, 2019
Former publicity secretary of Chhatra League Saif Babu address a press conference at Madhur Canteen on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Chhatra League announced its 301-member full-fledged central committee on Monday night

Ruling Awami League’s affiliated organization Bangladesh Chhatra League’s entire central committee was announced after a year marred by controversy.

But there are allegations that a few married people, non-students, alleged extortionists, expelled Chhatra League members, drug dealers, and addicts were added to the student organization.

Former and current leaders of Chhatra League not able to gain posts, say President Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon, and General Secretary Golam Rabbani, brought in several men after taking bribes, and that both top leaders were guilty of nepotism in choosing leaders from among activists.

Chhatra League announced its 301-member full-fledged central committee on Monday night.

According to the Bangladesh Chhatra League constitution, provisions given in 5 (Ka) of the constitution say that only regular students under the age of 27 can be Chhatra League members, and provision 5 (Ga) states that job holding professionals cannot be Chhatra League members.

By default, the Awami League president is the organization chief of Chhatra League. As the organizational chief, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated several times that married people would not be included in Chhatra League’s committee.

Chhatra League members who failed to get posts in the new committee and claimed to deserve more vital posts than they got,demanded the cancellation of the committee at a press conference held at Madhur Canteen on Tuesday.

Saif Babu, former publicity secretary of Chhatra League said: “The newly-formed executive body has married persons, drug addicts, drug dealers, and individuals accused in various criminal cases. Some of them are job-holders and persons who have crossed the age limit for being a Chhatra League leader.”

Babu added: “We demand the immediate cancellation of this committee and exemplary punishment for the attackers at the briefing."

According to sources, two working journalists were included in the central committee.

The new committee’s Mass Communication and Development Deputy Secretary, Muhammad Salah Uddin Jasim, works for online news portal poriborton.com as a senior reporter, and Sushovan Arka works for banglatribune.com.

Vice President Sujon Bhuiyan is government bank employee. 

Samia Sarkar was selected as assistant secretary in the new committee. According to sources, Samia is married. 

Abu Sayed was chosen to be vice-president of the new committee. He was a member of the last committee but he was expelled for life from Chhatra League for his involvement in anti-organizational activities.

Also, newly made vice presidents Sadik Khan and Sohani Tithi, Assistant Secretary Anjuman Ara Anu, and Deputy Cultural Secretary Afrin Labony, are all married.

Vice President Pradip Chowdhury was expelled from Dhaka University for cheating in exams and there are allegations against Vice President, Aminul Islam Bulbul, concerning several cases filed against him for criminal activities, including carrying firearms and drugs.

There are six cases against newly made Vice President Tariqul Islam Momin, claimed Rakib Hossain, former Chhatra League leader. 

Arefin Siddque Sujon, vice president, was also detained with drugs.  Dhaka University authorities also sealed off his room in Masterda Surja Sen Hall since he was caught using his room for drug dealing. 

BM Lipi Akter, president of Ruqayyah Hall unit, and also common room and cafeteria secretary of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu), says she will leave the new committee, because an assistant secretary bribed her way into the committee for Tk50,00,000.

She said: “It is my democratic right to protest if any unqualified people get Chhatra League posts.”

Lipi sustained injuries when she came under attack from fellow activists during her protest against the inclusion of controversial people in the committee.

She also claimed that more than 40 leaders of the new Chhatra League committee will abdicate from their posts.

Dhaka Tribune failed to reach the Chhatra League president and general secretary despite several attempts.

When contacted, newly elected vice president, Al Nahiyan Khan Joy, suggested it is quite impossible to please each and everyone: “Chhatra League is the biggest student organization in the sub-continent. There are thousands of qualified leaders but all of them cannot be included as leaders for a limited number of posts.”

However, he denied his involvement in the attacks on his fellow activists who were protesting at Dhaka University’s Madhur Canteen on Monday evening.

‘Trifling matter’

Awami League acting general secretary, Mahbubul Alam Hanif, said on Tuesday that the infighting of Chhatra League is nothing but a “trifling matter.”

"What happened at Dhaka University's Madhur Canteen following the Chhatra League central committee announcement is a trivial matter," he said.

Hanif made the remark briefing reporters after a joint meeting of AL secretaries and the two top leaders of its associated bodies and its Awami League Dhaka south and north city units at the party president’s Dhanmondi political office.

At least 15 hall, university, and former central body leaders, were injured during the chase and counter-chase at Madhur Canteen.

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