IT IS concerning that within-the-organisation conflicts have continued apace in the Awami League’s student wing Chhatra League — which has always made the headlines for wrong reasons such as driving out opponents from the campus, foiling student movements and protests, assaulting teachers and fellow female students and even coming forward in aid of the law enforcers in suppressing dissenting voice — since the ruling party assumed office in 2009. Yet it is gravely concerning that the Chhatra League has started brandishing strong arms so much so that the conflicts in the organisation — mainly centring on establishing stronghold and guarding the ground, for example — left at least five Chhatra League activists dead since July 2017, when the latest elected committee was given a lease of life after it had served out its tenure. While such activities of the Chhatra League have disrupted academic environment of educational institutions, they have come to be mired in the politics of the Awami League, creating instability in society. The latest in a series is the attack of the Chhata League on general students of the University of Dhaka who were protesting at the affiliation of seven government colleges. Chhatra League activists in the incident at hand are reported to have sexually harassed female students who took part in the protests.
Conflicts within the Chhatra League left Pabna and Comilla medical colleges closed for an indefinite period. It is because of their conflicts that the academic environment at the University of Chittagong, Comilla University and some other educational institutions came to be harmed. No classes could take place for two days in Sylhet Government College and MC College because of the strike that the Chhatra League enforced earlier in January. In November 2017, Chhatra League leaders and activists vandalised offices and vehicles in Chittagong University demanding the removal of an associate professor of the university. The attack perpetrated by the Chhatra League, as New Age then reported, appeared to be conflicts between two Awami League leaders. Awami League leaders who control the Chhatra League have time and again talked tough, or not tough enough, against Chhatra League misdeeds and nothing has stopped the organisation from getting in unethical practice, violence and crimes. But it is time for the Awami League leaders to understand that the Chhatra League has already earned the notoriety that the National Students Federation, or NSF, created in the 1960s by Abdul Monem Khan, the then governor of East Pakistan, had. The NSF, sponsored by the government, served government purposes and countered general people. The Chhatra League is doing exactly what the NSF did that time — doing crimes, getting into violence and unethical practice and countering general people and students.
It is time that the Awami League leaders understood that it is their moral obligation to rein in the Chhatra League tightly enough so that it stops getting delinquent from the ideals that it had always championed the way at the time of Monem Khan the Chhatra League banded together with most other students organisations to keep the National Students Federation at bay.
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