• Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
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Don’t call it politics

  • Published at 12:02 am October 10th, 2019
Fahad jail
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Violence in the name of student politics has gone on for too long, and it is time the two were separated

The brutal murder of Abrar Fahad has shocked the nation to the core, and no words can be offered to his loved ones at a time like this that will make any difference.

Of course, the fact that more than 10 people in connection with Abrar’s death have been arrested already is commendable, but the bigger concern still looms large:

Will the shocking death of Abrar change anything regarding the toxic culture of student politics in Bangladesh that we have seen grim evidence of again and again with distressing frequency?

While many have been quick to condemn the savage killing of Abrar, the language used thus far in condemning his killers has not addressed the broader problem of the culture of violence and impunity embedded within student politics.

For example, last year saw journalists, students, and the general public fall victim to BCL violence during the road safety protests. But nothing was done by the authorities to right the wrongs and bring the guilty to justice. They remain free men.

At this point, the problem is surely far more pervasive than mere rogue elements breaking the rules. The problem is a broken system of student politics itself, which allows for and indeed encourages violence, ruining the atmosphere of our universities.

In fact, there can be no doubt that too often student politics as it is called is little more than a euphemism for rampant criminality and intimidation. 

Let us make no mistake about it. There can be no space for such criminal activities and those who commit them -- and those who give them shelter and protection -- on our university campuses. 

If Bangladesh is ever to advance as a nation, our universities must once again be what they once were and universities all over the world are meant to be -- centres of excellence and learning, where young men and women can get the education they need to be the leaders of tomorrow and develop the country, without having to live in fear of what are little more than violent criminal gangs.

Can anyone honestly say that this is the situation that currently pertains in our public universities?

We mourn the death of Abrar Fahad -- he was not guilty of any crime, and his death is on our conscience. 

The very least we can do is make sure no innocent student is ever murdered again.

Violence in the name of student politics has gone on for too long, and it is time the two were separated.