Addressing the event, Bangladesh Workers' Party President Rashed Khan Menon emphasized that there is absolutely no way to retrieve student politics from national politics
Politicians and student leaders alike are of the view that student politics is part of national politics, but opined that student politics should be separated from national politics.
Leaders representing student bodies, organizations and former office bearers of prominent student unions came up with the statement at a roundtable styled, "Student Politics in Bangladesh and relevant thinking," arranged by Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) held at the National Press Club on Monday.
Addressing the event, Bangladesh Workers' Party President Rashed Khan Menon emphasized that there is absolutely no way to retrieve student politics from national politics.
He said: "Student politics is steadfastly connected with national politics. Student politics has lost its credence and ideals as leaders of national political parties readily impose decisions on the student wings.”
He said that in order to make student politics untainted, the country needs to make its all national politics acceptable and accountable to the people.
Former Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) vice-president and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader ASM Abdur Rab said rather unswervingly that student politics is a part of national politics.
He said: “We cannot discuss about alienating student politics from national politics. Student politics will cease to exist if it were to be set apart from national politics.”
He said the notion of banning student politics is arguably to silent students’ voices as the next generation youth always stands against oppression, irregularities and state sponsored social inconsistency and they do not fear to speak against abuse.
Awami League’s former state minister for information and present leader of Gono Forum Professor Abu Sayeed told the audience that national politics is in the hands of looters, rent-scrapers, and dividend-collectors.
He said: “State power holders were trying to disconnect students from politics. Student politics along with national politics can be restored from the evil forces by forging a national unity alliance in the spirit of Liberation War.
Teachers and professors were to blame for playing politics in an effort to fulfil their self-interest, he said.
Amanullah Aman, joint secretary general of the BNP and former vice-president of Ducsu, urged the incumbent Ducsu leadership to start a movement to bring qualitative changes in student politics.
He said: “The Language movement in 1952 and Liberation War in 1971 are the outcome of a combined movement of students. In our times in the past, university teachers inspired us during a movement, unlike teachers in recent times who have become rivals of students.”
He alleged that Awami League led government robbed people of their voting rights in the 11th national parliamentary polls as well as during the Ducsu elections.”
Participating in the dialogue, former Ducsu VP and Convener of Nagorik Oikya Mahmudur Rahman Manna said that student politics is the reflection of national politics.
He said: “I really don’t want that BNP comes to power instead of Awami League, but I have to make it clear that the present government has arrested Khaleda Zia rather illegally. If students launch a movement against the government, they should not be treated as rash of political parties.”
He said that justice means standing against prejudice and injustices in society and students should always hold firm determination in attaining righteousness. He reiterated his belief that students should take part in national politics for the wellbeing of the country.
Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) President Mujahidul Islam Selim said that Buet student Abrar Fahad was killed not for student politics, on the contrary, he violent death came in absence of student politics at Buet.
He said: “We do not want less politics, we want more politics.”
He requested forming a forum of former VPs of the student unions to help support and monitor student politics.
Nurul Haque Nur, vice president of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu), alleged that Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Chhatra Dal are solely responsible for the vitriolic atmosphere in the campuses.
He said: “Students wings of political parties have turned into striking forces of criminal activities and they are always determined to fulfill the demands of political parties.”
Political parties have to shoulder responsibilities of crimes committed by the student wings.
Among others, Awami League executive member Reazul Kabir Kawser, CPB leader Ruhin Hossain Prince also spoke at the roundtable while Nazmul Haque Pradhan, general secretary of a JSD, was in the chair.