Students cadres breaking the law threaten the fabric of democracy
The images are everywhere, and there is no denying the truth of what happened. A small minority -- by no means all or even most -- of the Bangladesh Chhatra League have violently attacked and abused peaceful protesters.
Violence committed under the party’s name is violence nonetheless, and all the more concerning because it threatens to undermine the positive work done by the ruling party.
That is why it is imperative that these elements are not allowed to go unpunished.
In no way should those involved in violence be rewarded with BCL office, as that would set a terrible precedent -- student cadres cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands.
Indeed, it would do well for the organization to expel BCL members found to be engaging in violence, and for criminal charges to be brought against the malefactors.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in the inaugural session of the 29th council of the BCL that campus violence or vandalism by students would not be tolerated in any shape or form.
At the time, the honourable PM did not mince her words, saying: “No one will be spared, no matter what organization they belong to.”
The time is now for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to exert her authority and truly send a message -- not just to those engaging in violence and thuggery on campus, but to the entire nation.
A decisive step from the PM would go a long way toward restoring public confidence in our educational institutions as well as the overall political culture, to say nothing of the government’s authority.
Students cadres, BCL or not, breaking the law, threaten not only the law and order of the country, but the fabric of democracy.
It is the culture of violence which must end, for the good of the ruling party as much as for the country.