And the JCD
months back, the young supremo of the Bangladesh Nationalist
Party (BNP) was full of hubris. He was drumming up support
in favour of the young party cadres. He emphasised that
the members of BNP's student wing were contributing to the
congenial atmosphere of education in Bangladesh. Nothing
could be further from the truth. The way the Dhaka University
halls and even TSC was brought into the BNP's aegis by enforcing
both muscle and new regulations illustrates the grim reality.
when most institutions remain in the tight grip of the student
leaders belonging to the Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD),
the student wing of the BNP, the recent clash between the
student organisations belonging to the coalition partners
brings to light another pressing issue. The coexistence
of cadres of Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS: the student wing
of Jamaat-e-Islami) and that of the JCD. Enmity between
the two has always existed, but its manifestation was never
as brutal as in the last few months.
3, Dhaka Alia Madrasa became a war zone to test each other's
might. It has been declared closed for an indefinite period
in the face of a sudden spurt of violence that ensued till
the next day. While the students belonging to two major
coalition partners -- BNP and JIB (Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh)
-- fought each other to remain in control, the reports splashed
all over the national media failed to pinpoint the real
reason behind the vicious fighting. Some of them clearly
stated the fact that it was JCD's bid to take control of
affairs that backfired. They were beaten up on the first
day prompting them to get even with the help of the police
the next day.
two-day long clash left more than 150, including 10 cops,
injured. In apprehension of further clashes riot police
and BDR personnel were deployed on campus. Additional forces
have also been deployed at Dhaka University, BUET as well
as Dhaka Medical College to curb the heat from spreading.
aftermath of the violent clashes
of JCD and ICS are certainly on the rise. In fact, the amicable
solution that their mother organisations carved out based
on the sharing of power to counter Awami League while stoked
by Islamic zeal, has always failed to brush on to the young
followers of the BNP. JCD has been flexible in many occasions
to taunt the staunchest of all rivals, the Awami League.
But they have never compromised their machismo that they
take pride in, not even to Islam or any other abstract principle
for that matter. They have never ceased to gloat over the
incidents of Bangladesh Chhatro League, the student wing
of the AL, beating up ICS cadres. The occasional pairing
of JCD and ICS always was an act of desperation on the part
of JCD. It was, in principle, to topple the BCL hegemony.
the diminishing threat of BCL, JCD and ICS have been thrown
onto a whole new chessboard of power politics. They are
bound to reorient there game plans. The parties they belong
to may not even acknowledge the ground realities of domination
and submission (by others of course), but for the student
leaders it is a constant headache. It seems that they are
unwilling to follow the example of the venerable leaders
of their national big brothers of the four parties now in
has been news of the national leaders taking it up with
the student leaders, but reconciliation is not what the
student cadres have in mind. Reports in several dailies
reveal that the enmity between the workers of ICS and JCD
has lately reached a smouldering height at the grass-root
level. During the rule of the coalition government, there
have been 25 bloody confrontations between ICS and JCD cadres.
to the Alia Madrsa mayhem, There were other battles in Alia
Madrasa as well as in Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical
College. Even a month ago, at the Dhaka University campus,
JCD men manhandled a few JCD cadres. This had no repercussion,
as JCD men ruthlessly rule the campus.
is a game of control, and when one either starts to lose
one's grip or wants newer territory to establish hierarchy,
fights are inevitable. Those who beg to differ, or want
a solution to the clashes, have been making efforts to change
the trend. There have been reports that on 16 November 2003,
Secretary General of the BNP Mannan Bhuiyan arranged for
the leaders of the two organisations to sit and to talk
things over. But the clashes have continued.
the clash at the Jagannath University last month, Mirza
Abbas, the Minister for Housing and Public Works, arranged
for a meeting at his own residence. The effort had little
effect in reconciling the differences. One month later,
at the Alia Madrasa, through the attacks and the counter
attacks the hatred resurfaced. Both sides knew no mercy.
It also brings to the fore the fact that political cadres
have little to do with learning. Their acumen lies in cutting
throats, gouging out eyes and many other sadistic solutions
to the problem of having to confront an opposition, any
kind of opposition for that matter.
residential halls of Alia Madrasa now lie vacant. The students
were sent packing in the morning of May 5th. For any political
party the Madrasa holds importance because of its strategic
placement. It is right next to the Dhaka Medical College
and a little further away from BUET. It is from here that
the Shibirites brought the Dhaka Medical College under their
influence over the last few years.
leaders of the ICS at the Madrasa told newspapers only that
they would refrain from further actions against JCD. Interestingly,
they also did not mention the name of JCD in their official
charge against JCD cadres. The leaders said that they only
want to press uprise JCD to ensure their hierarchy at the
Jalil Helal, JCD President at the centre, confirmed to reporters
that he was aware of the untoward incidents at the Alia
Madrsa. "I directed all JCD cadres to work shoulder
to shoulder with coalition partners." He was emphatic
about the fact that the clashes were exceptional cases and
added that "it will not effect the relation between
the two student organisations." Even the Secretary
General of ICS, Md Shafiqul Islam said, "The coalition
will not be affected by this incident."
separate cases have been lodged with the Lalbagh Police
Station. As usual, no one was rounded up in connection with
the clashes. A leader of JCD, who likes to remain anonymous,
reflects that although the national leaders stresses the
importance of unity the members of JCD is not at all ready
to give in. In this tough note the real mindset is revealed.
However, for the two major coalition partners, reconciliation
is the only way to keep Awami League at bay. As long as
expediency rules, all clashes will go on while the national
leaders keep their attention glued to the one and only thing,
power. Meanwhile, education remains the biggest casualty
of these 'untoward incidents' that may never cease to catch
the general students by surprise.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005