Ruling Awami League-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League activists on Sunday unleashed attacks on quota reform protesters on Dhaka University, this time shoving teachers and beating students, sending a wave of terror on the campus.
The BCL activists pushed and verbally abused mass communication and journalism department professor Fahmidul Haq, associate professor Abdur Razzaque Khan, international relations associate professor Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, economics assistant professor Rushad Faridi when they were going to take part in a post-human chain procession at Central Shaheed Minar.
Quota reform protestors under the banner Sadharan Shikkharthibrinda organised the human chain joined by students, teachers, guardians and conscious citizens at Shaheed Minar.
‘Chhatra League activists obstructed us from holding our scheduled human chain at Shaheed Minar and they attacked us when later we were going towards Raju sculpture in a procession,’ Fahmidul Haq said.
‘We went there to join a protest organised by students demanding release of their arrested fellow students’, he said.
Witnesses said as soon as the protestors started assembling in front of Shaheed Minar about 11:00am, at least three groups of Chhatra League activists took stance in front of Motahar Bhaban of DU.
Chhatra League activists under two banners — Muktijoddhar Santan Command Council, Quota Andolane Nipirita Shikkharthibrinda — demanding regular classes and exams and an end to impasse on the campus moved toward Shaheed Minar and took position about 20 yards north from where quota reform protestors were holding their human chain.
Leaders of the recently dissolved Chhatra League central committee Saif Babu, Al Nahiyan Khan Joy, Iyaz Al Riyad, Zainul Abdein, Tanvir Hassan Saikot, DU unit leaders Rummon Hossain, Rakibul Islam Badhan, Al Amin, AL Mamun and others led the Chhatra League activists who joined their programme.
Chhatra League activists using public address system continued to abuse students and teachers joining the
protest programme. They [Chhatra League] termed students and teachers as supporters of Jamaat and Shibir, anti-liberation forces and others, Fahmidul said.
The quota reform protestors along with DU teachers tried to bring out a procession toward Anti-violence Raju Memorial Sculpture using the entrance near Jagannath Hall.
The BCL activists coming through the entrance beside medical college took position in front of quota reform protestors near Shibbari intersection.
‘When the procession reached Shibbari, a group attacked the procession,’ Fahmidul said.
The attackers took away quota protestors’ banner, hurling abusive words and penetrated into the protest procession, attacking the students, said witnesses.
At one stage Chahtra League leaders and activists shoved Tanjim Uddin and Fahmidul Haq, said protestors.
‘At least five protestors were injured in the attack,’ said a fourth year accounting student.
He also said a good number of outsider female students of College of Home Economics, Eden Mohila College and Begum Badrunnesa Government Women College joined Chhatra League’s human chain.
Chhatra League leader AL Mamun said they did not attack anyone but a scuffle and altercation took place at Shaheed Minar on the day.
‘We went there with the demand for regular class and exam ending impasse and anarchy in the name of movement,’ he said.
After the attack at Shibabri, the Chhatra League activists beat at least five students at Jagannath Hall Intersection and in front medical college gate and central library.
Dhaka University proctor AKM Golam Rabbani said the university administration would take action against those who were trying to destabilise the campus. ‘Some teachers are involved in the process,’ he said.
‘I sent staff of my office to Shaheed Minar about 11:00am to request the teachers to leave the place along with the protestors. But they did not pay heed to that,’ AKM Golam Rabbani said and left the place without taking any question from reporters.
Meanwhile, left leaning Progressive Students Alliance, a platform of left student wings, gave a memorandum to the prime minister office to press home their five-point demand including logical reformation of quota system and punishment of Chhatra League activists involved in attacks on the quota reform protestors across the country.
Earlier, leaders and activists of the alliance brought out a procession from Madhu’s Canteen of the university heading towards the PMO but law enforcers obstructed them at Shahbagh intersection.
Later, a six-member team led, by alliance convener Golam Mustafa, handed over the memorandum to PMO.
Students of DU sociology department formed a human chain in front of the department at noon, demanding unconditional release of their fellow Moshiur Rahman from jail.
The participants in the human chain wore black strips of cloth as a sign of their protest.
Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad, a platform of students and jobseekers, took to the streets on February 17 and continued protests for reducing quota in government jobs to 10 per cent from the existing 56 per cent.
The protestors faced attacks from the police and ruling Awami League-backed student organisation Bangladesh Chhatra League at places, including Dhaka.
BCL activists swooped on quota reformists on June 30, when the quota reform leaders were preparing for a prescheduled press conference in front of DU central library. It left seven injured including Nurul Haq Nur.
Chhatra League activists beat four quota protesters in front of National Museum at Shahbagh on July 1, when they were trying to hold a protest at attack.
The BCL activists once again clubbed quota reform protestors on July 2 when they gathered on the Central Shaheed Minar premises to form a human chain.
The same day, Chhatra League leaders and activists hit a Rajshahi University student with a hammer and stabbed him with a dagger in front of the RU main gate.
The Chhatra League activists also beat quota reform protesters at Chittagong University and Jahangirnagar University since April 8, when the protests intensified.
In the face of protests across the country, prime minister Sheikh Hasina announced in parliament on April 11 that the quota system in government jobs would be abolished.
Police arrested a number of protesters and took them in their custody while Chhatra League carried out series of attacks on protesters at Dhaka University and Rajshahi University.
Protesters also alleged that government hospitals declined to treat the injured protesters.
Police arrested at least 11 leaders and activists of the movement, including Rashed Khan, Tarikul Islam, Faruk Hassan, Mashiur Rahman, Jasim Uddin, Suhel Islam, since June 30.
The prime minister on Thursday in parliament said it would not be
possible to reform freedom fighters’ quota in public service due to a High Court verdict.