Vol. 5 Num 110 Sun. September 12, 2004  
Front Page

JCD let loose terror on DU campus
50 hurt in attack on student procession; DUTA president's room ransacked; teachers call 3-day strike in protest

At least 50 students and journalists were injured, 13 seriously, as pro-government student activists ran amuck yesterday on Dhaka University (DU) campus after swooping on a united procession of opposition student organisations.

The Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) cadres swiped at reporters and photojournalists as they tried to snap the swoop, leaving eight of them wounded.

They also raided Madhu's Canteen and pounded on the members of different left-leaning student organisations assembled there, injuring about 10 of them, and ransacked the office of Dhaka University Teachers Association (Duta) President Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique.

In the afternoon at around 4:30pm, in another attack in front of Jahurul Haque Hall, a group of JCD activists seriously wounded BCL hall unit president Mizan, general secretary Bablu, organising secretary Mithu and member Miran.

Sources said the JCD attack was made as per a decision its central committee took in a meeting Friday night to thwart at any cost the launching of a united anti-government student movement under the banner of 'Student Organisations against Criminal Activities and Fundamentalism'.

The six student bodies united in the combine are Awami League-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-backed BCL, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree, Jatiya Chhatra Dhara, Jatiya Chhatra Oikya and Bangladesh Chhatra Samity.

Leaders of the opposition student combine in a meeting on September 6 decided to launch a united student movement to unseat the coalition government and to protest all bomb attacks including the August-21 grenade attack on an AL rally.

Yesterday's procession following a rally was the first public programme of the combine.

The JCD central body on Friday also decided to bring in its cadres from different colleges and city units to use in yesterday's showdown, sources said.

According to the plan, thousands of JCD activists started to gather at Madhu's Canteen from about 10:00am and later assembled in a rally in front of the sculpture Aparajeyo Bangla. From there they took out a procession after the meeting, marching towards the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC).

The opposition combine on the other hand located its rally at Aamtola in front of the DU proctor's office, after which it too took out a procession.

Witness said the clash erupted at around 12:30pm as the two rival processions came face to face near the main gate of the Arts Faculty.

They said the JCD cadres launched the offence wielding iron rods and wooden clubs and hurling brickbats at their opposition.

JCD sources said, in preparation to the assault, they had collected rods and brickbats earlier.

After the clash, the JCD staged a brief rally where its leaders welcomed the action against the opposition combine. It would hold another rally today on the campus to keep up the congenial atmosphere, a JCD leader said.

Protesting the attacks, the combine at a press conference yesterday demanded arrest and punishment of the attackers within two days and called a countrywide student strike on September 14 to press home a six-point set of demand.

The demands include expulsion of attackers from the university, resignation of the DU proctor and punishment of the JCD cadres who attacked journalists and damaged the Duta office. The combine leaders also asked for removal of the officer-in-charge of Ramna Police Station and assistant commissioner (Patrol, South) and assistant deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, compensation for the wounded and peaceful cohabitation of students of all political affiliation at the DU dormitories.

The combine will stage also a demonstration today on the DU campus.

The Duta in a press release last night announced suspension of all classes at the university for 72 hours from today in protest of the attacks and rampage. The teachers will also take out a protest procession today.

On the other hand, JCD leaders at a press briefing at DU Journalists Association office claimed the combine's rally and a procession of a city unit of BCL threw brickbats at their procession.

JCD President Sahabuddin Laltu and General Secretary Azizul Bari Helal said conscious and patriot students of the university resisted and chased away the miscreants from the campus.

They demanded arrest and punishment of the BCL members who they said were criminals.

Meanwhile the DU authorities have formed a six-member probe body headed by Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof AFM Yusuf Haider into the incidents and asked it to submit its report in one-week time.

In the wake of volatile campus situation, the authorities have restricted all kinds of meetings and processions on the campus until Thursday.

The decision came from a provost standing committee meeting last night with Vice Chancellor ASM Faiz in chair.

A group of JCD cadres ransacked the office of Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique of Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, also the chief of Duta.

They broke into the room and damaged computers, printers, ceiling fan, books, documents and other furniture.

The Duta at an emergency meeting at about 7 last night demanded punishment of the persons responsible for damaging the office of its president and compensation for the damage.

The BCL leaders and activists seriously injured in yesterday's attacks include central President Liaqat Sikder, DU unit President Delwar Hossain, Badrunnesa Govt College unit General Secretary (GS) Mukta and Fine Arts Institute leader Swarna.

Among the seriously wounded JSD backed-BCL members are its President Shariful Kabir Swapon, Organising Secretary Yunusur Rahman and Enaetur Rahim, Shanul Islam Rashed and SM Shahin Ahmed. Among others are Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree President Rafiqul Islam Sujon, Chhatra Dhara President Mahfuz Akram and GS Monjur Ahmed, and Chhatra Okkiya President Jewel Ahmed Khan.

Most of the wounded were admitted to Central Hospital, Samorita Hospital, City General Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

A number of organisations and individuals yesterday protested the JCD attacks.

Progatishil Chhatra Jote, a combine of left-leaning student organisations, brought out an instant procession and held a rally on the campus demanding immediate arrest and punishment of the JCD men who attacked the combine rally.

AL GS Abdul Jalil, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain, JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu, Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, and AL leaders Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin and Hazi Mohammad Selim visited the injured at the DMCH.

Bangladesh Awami Swechchhasebok League, Bangladesh Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, DU Journalists Association, Sammilito Peshajibi Parishad, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree, Bangladesh Jubo Moitree, Jatiya Shramik Federation Bangladesh, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front and Biplobi Chhatra Moitree, among others, sent press statements blasted the government and condemned the BNP's student wing for the attacks.

A joint note of 315 DU teachers also decried the incidents.

Activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), student wing of the BNP, chase and beat up Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) supporters including a women student at Dhaka University yesterday (top); later, BCL workers torched a bus in protest near the TSC on the campus (left); JCD activists also ransacked the office room of DUTA President Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique. PHOTO: STAR