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Dhaka Tribune

Chhatra League make a name as muggers in DU

Update : 08 Nov 2014, 09:18 PM

Some Dhaka University students have since long been engaged in snatching valuables from people at different spots on the campus. Law enforcers say most of the perpetrators belong to Bangladesh Chhatra League, the ruling party’s student wing.

Such incidents have been on the rise for the past few months reportedly due to negligence of the Chhatra League central committee, university authorities and the police.

General students, teachers and outsiders are targets of these groups.

Although the university authorities and law enforcers have assured stern action after every occurrence, no measures have actually been taken in most cases, victims allege.

The involvement of Chhatra League leaders and activists is confirmed by sources in the police, NSI, DGFI, general students and several leaders of Chhatra League’s DU unit.

The accused groups are led by Chhatra League leaders mainly from Salimullah Muslim (SM), FH, Zahurul Haq and Surya Sen Halls.

Identities of the prominent gang leaders have also been an open secret on the campus. Mahbubul Islam Apon and Ahmed Tahsan, organising secretaries of the SM Hall unit, Aman, joint secretary, and another Chhatra League leader Nazmul Karim Shuvo have frequently been mugging on the campus.

All of them are followers of Chhatra League SM Hall unit President Mehedi Hasan and General Secretary Didarul Islam.

The snatchings take place mainly in the Suhrawardy Udyan, the Polashi roundabout, Doyel Chhatar, Shishu Academy, Bangla Academy, Shahbagh and Fuller Road, which have turned into hotbeds of mugging after sunset.

A sub-inspector of Shahbagh police station told the Dhaka Tribune that most of the recent crimes have been committed by the activists of the SM Hall unit Chhatra League.

Sub-Inspector of Nilkhet police station Shaheb Ali claimed that Chhatra League leaders and activists of SM Hall had been behind the snatching of more than 100 mobile phones and laptops, and motorcycles of university students and outsiders.

None of those could be recovered although general diaries with Shahbagh police station have been filed.

A recent victim of mugging was Associate Professor of Mass Communication and Journalism Dr Sudhangshu Shekhor Roy, on October 16 evening in the TSC area.

Two muggers stopped his rickshaw near the Bangla Academy around 7:15pm and snatched his valuables showing arms.

Businessman Mahbubul Alam Antu submitted a written complaint to the university’s acting proctor Amzad Ali on October 18 accusing Apon, Tahsan and four accomplices of mugging and torturing outsiders near the British Council on Fuller Road recently.

On the second day of Eid-ul-Azha, he, along with a friend, went to Fuller Road and sat on the footpath near the British Council.

“In the evening, a man came to the place in a private car and sat beside us. After sometime, five or six men came to the place on two motorcycles and snatched belongings from the car owner and beat him up. They also assaulted me since I protested,” Antu told the Dhaka Tribune.

He later informed his friend Ashiqul Pathan, the programme and planning secretary of DU unit Chhatra League, who later identified Apon and Tahsan on the basis of statements given by several witnesses.

Ashiq told the Dhaka Tribune: “I later talked to SM Hall unit General Secretary Didarul Islam about the accused. He replied that they do not care about my concerns.

“What else could I do?”

In the last week of August, DU unit Chhatra League Joint Secretary Rezaul Islam Reza told this reporter that one of his friends named Ratan Mahmud fell victim to mugging on an evening while walking along Fuller Road with a female friend.

Later Reza went to the spot and according to the description of his friend, found some leaders of the SM Hall unit involved in the incident.

A third-year student of Jasim Uddin hall, who used to accompany the SM Hall syndicate in the past, told the Dhaka Tribune that they usually gather at Fuller Road in the evening.

If they see any couple, who are DU students, they blame them for doing “unacceptable” things on campus and demand money and valuable things. If they refuse, they snatch.

“Sometimes the muggers wait for people coming in private cars and motorcycles, assuming that they are rich,” he said.

Police said during Eid and Puja, the SM Hall syndicate, led by Apon and Tahsan, had been involved in several incidents of extortion and mugging on the campus.

They also set a goat hut near the Polashi bazar before Eid. Backed by Mehedi and Didar, they collected toll from the businessmen.

Sub-Inspector of Shahbagh police Alamgir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that on September 30 evening, while on duty at Suhrawardy Udyan, he heard a woman scream. Reaching the spot, he heard from the vendors that the SM Hall unit Chhatra League activist Shuvo had snatched valuables from the woman.

Shuvo was detained by police from his dormitory on May 27 after he had abducted a salesman. He was then suspended from the university. Shuvo is now on bail.

A few months back, Choyon of Zahurul Huq Hall and Mamun of Mohsin Hall were detained by police over an alleged snatching of a motorcycle from Suhrawardy Udyan.

Choyon and Mamun later confessed their involvement to a magistrate. They also disclosed the names of Apon and Aman, who had been present at the time of the crime. Police did not arrest Apon and Aman, but Choyon and Mamun were sent to jail.

In September 2012, a first-year student of SM Hall was detained by Shahbagh police from the Suhrawardy Udyan. He also named Apon, Tahsan and 15 others in connection with the mugging.

On April 14 last year, some Chhatra League leaders and activists of SM Hall led by Apon, Tahsan, Aman, Asif, Shuvo, Tapash, Oitijjiho and Pikul among others extorted people who were celebrating Pahela Baishakh. Some journalists who protested were beaten up. Police arrested six from the spot and identified 15 others in that connection.

Apart from the SM Hall unit Chhatra League men, there are similar allegations against Mamun of Mohshin Hall; Twaki, Shah Alam and Arifur Rahman Leyon of Surya Sen Hall; and Mostafizur Rahman and Shomit Shahariar of Shahidullah Hall.

On September 30, Shahbagh police arrested three students of the Fazlul Haque Hall at Suhrawardy Udyan while they were trying to snatch mobile phones and money from a couple. The arrested were Arif, Mamun and Tanjim, who claimed to be followers of the hall unit President Hasanuzzaman.

OC of Shahbagh police Shirajul Islam said: “Sometimes we have to free the perpetrators despite catching them red-handed as they show their identity cards and even disclose political backings.”

He said police were not always free to take action against the university students.

Acting proctor Amzad Ali acknowledged the allegations against Chhatra League activists, especially those from the SM Hall.

“The university authorities will take stern action against those responsible,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.

However, DU unit Chhatra League President Mehedi Hasan told the Dhaka Tribune that he had not heard anything regarding the involvement of Chhatra League men in mugging and extortion. “If any allegation is proved, proper steps will be meted out to them from the organisation,” he said.

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