Attacks and intimidation by Bangladesh Chhatra League activists and arrest of a top leader on Sunday marked the demonstrations by anti-quota protesters against Saturday’s attack on their leaders and activists by BCL activists.
On Saturday, activists of ruling Awami League-backed student organisation launched an attack on the protesters at Dhaka University when they were preparing for a press conference, leaving 15 of the protesters injured.
The protesters, under the banner of Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, have been on movement since mid-February, demanding reduction of quota in public jobs from the existing 56 per cent and were scheduled to hold protests at colleges and universities on Sunday.
Towards noon on Sunday, detective branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested the Parishad’s joint convener Md Rashed Khan from Majumder Mor at Bhasantek in Dhaka in a case lodged under section 57 of the Information Communication Technology Act by BCL law affairs secretary Md Al Nahian Khan Joy, said metropolitan police’s deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman.
Besides, BCL leaders and activists handed over at least three Parishad organisers to Shahbagh police after beating, witnesses and sources in police said.
The BCL activists were found checking bags and mobile phones of those whom they suspected to be protesters between 1:00pm and 4:00pm.
New Age correspondents reported that BCL attacks foiled the demonstration in Rajshahi and Sylhet while students of Chittagong University and Barisal University boycotted classes and examinations on the day.
Protesters at Jahangirnagar University alleged that they could not hold the protest as BCL activists threatened many of them and beat some of their activists and drove them out of residential halls.
The case, filed by Nahian with Shahbagh Police Station, made Rashed the lone accused, alleging that his
statements on social network media facebook defamed the prime minister.
Nahian alleged in the case statement that on June 27, 2018, Rashed uploaded his statement on facebook in which he, targeting the prime minister, said, ‘It seems that it is her father’s country and she is the owner of the country and can say whatever she wishes, but we cannot say anything,’ Nahian alleged in his case.
The case alleged that Rashed circulated false information and rumour on facebook live to hamper law and order situation at Dhaka University and other educational institutions.
Immediately before he was arrested by the detectives, terrified Rashed in his facebook live said that he was being picked up by DB and made an appeal to save him.
A DB official, involved in investigation into the case, told New Age in the afternoon that they would produce Rashed in a metropolitan magistrate court in Dhaka on Monday after primary interrogation.
As the news of Rashed’s arrest spread, a number of organisers of the protesters came to Shahbagh around 1:00pm and tried to mobilise the quota protesters, when BCL activists caught at least three of them and handed them over to nearby Shahbagh police after beating them up, BCL leaders and witnesses said.
Acknowledging the incidents, Al Mamun, central Chhatra League’s assistant secretary on liberation war affairs, said that general students resisted those who wanted to destabilise the university.
He, however, claimed that they did not assault anyone.
The BCL men also beat Dhaka University-based cultural organisation Mime Action’s founding president Mir Lokman, who staged more than four hundred mime shows at home and abroad, in front of DU central library for protesting at Saturday’s BCL attack on facebook.
Lokman alleged that Jagannath Hall unit BCL president Sanjit Chandra Das, along with some BCL central leaders, assaulted him for protesting at BCL attack on quota reform protesters.
Sanjit denied the allegation.
DU vice-chancellor Professor M Akhatruzzaman, replying to journalist during the 97th founding anniversary of the university, said that they would not allow any vested quarter’s conspiracy to destabilise the university in the name of any movement.
He further said that university proctor was asked to submit a report regarding Saturday’s incident and they would take action according to the report.
Progressive Students’ Alliance, a platform of left student organaisations, also brought out a protest procession at DU demanding punishment of culpable BCL activists who attacked the protesters on Saturday.
Leaders and activists of the alliance brought out the procession from Madhu’s Canteen.
Addressing a rally, the Alliance leaders alleged that the Chhatra League activists tried to establish a reign of terror at public universities by repeatedly attacking general students when they tried to raise their voice against the discrimination in government job services.
New Age JU correspondent reported that anti-quota protesters could not stage demonstration as BCL leaders and activists threatened some Parishad leaders and beat and ousted some from residential halls.
At least 50 BCL leaders and activists moved around on the campus while some took position in front of the central Library on Sunday.
Shakiluzzaman, convener of JU unit of the Parishad, said, ‘Some BCL activists threatened me on Saturday night entering my room.’
JU unit BCL president Jewel Rana denied the allegations.
New Age staff correspondent in Sylhet reported that BCL on Sunday foiled a protest programme of the quota protestors in front of central library of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology at about 11:00am.
The Parishad’s SUST joint general secretary Khandaker Noman Hossain alleged that the BCL activists snatched away their banner.
The university unit BCL acting president Ruhul Amin, however, rejected the allegation and claimed that they just requested the protesters not to create any chaos on the campus.
Our RU correspondent, quoting RU unit Parishad convener Masud Monnaf, reported that BCL activists beat up over 20 quota protesters during repeated attacks on RU campus between 9:30am and 11:30am and foiled their rally.
BCL RU unit president Golam Kibria said they drove out those who made derogatory remarks about prime minister Shiekh Hasina and were trying to create unrest even after assurances from the prime minister.
RU proctor Professor Lutfor Rahman told New Age that they deployed additional police forces to avert any untoward incidents on campus.
Progressive Student Alliance brought out a protest procession on the campus and held a short rally in front of the university central library about 12:00pm.
Human rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra expressed their concern and condemned BCL attack on quota protesters, university authorities’ failure to take effective measures to tackle the situation and arrest of Rashed, a press release issued by ASK said.
In the face of protests across the country, prime minister Sheikh Hasina announced in the parliament on April 11 that the quota system in government jobs would go.
The protesters took to the streets on February 17 and continued the protests for reduction of quota in public service recruitment to 10 per cent from the existing 56 per cent.
On April 9, at least 50 people were injured at Dhaka University as the quota reform protesters were attacked jointly by law enforcers and Bangladesh Chhatra League activists.
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