Monday, April 15, 2013

The 'golden boys' of Hasina wreak havoc yet again

In a state of boredom, I opened my browser and opened the online news portal bdnews24. A topic hit my eye. I googled it and up came more results. The search was on Bangladesh Chatra League and in the past 24 hours, they had been involved with three instances of violence nationwide:

1. A BCL member assaulted two female students at Jahangirnagar University. Witnesses said students of Kamaluddin Hall took out a colourful procession at around 11am celebrating Pahela Boishakh like the previous years. As the procession was passing by the university’s 'Tarzan Point', some participants threw colours at two female students there. Witnesses alleged Akash along with his accomplices beat the two female students and dragged their cloths as they protested against sprinkling colours on them. JU Teachers Association President Professor Ajit Kumar Majumder came forward to resist the students, but Akash, a JU 37th batch student, and others misbehaved with him. Chhatra Union’s JU unit took out a procession demanding exemplary punishment for assault committed by the alleged BCL activist and AFM Kamaluddin Hall resident Subol Debnath Akash.

2. Activists of Bangladesh Chatra League beat up five journalists covering the Dhaka University when they were trying to gather information about alleged extortion by the student front leaders. The university authorities have identified 21 BCL activists involved with the assault and handed over six of them to the police. Witnesses said a group of BCL workers of SM Hall unit snatching money and valuables from passengers of passing vehicles on the Fuller Road near the SM Hall from Saturday midnight. Several journalists went to the spot at around 4am to check this out and found Chhatra League activists trying to stop a motorcycle. As the journalists inquired about their identity, the extortionists said they were from the Chhatra League's SM Hall unit of Dhaka University. One of them, identified as ‘Asif’, is a second year student of the university’s Mass Communication and Journalism department. Prothom Alo’s university’s correspondent Ahmed Zaif talked Asif out of the pack, but other activists tried to take him away.Several Chhatra League activists indiscriminately beat up Zaif, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha’s university correspondent Moloy Kumar Dutta, journalism department's Dulal Samaddar,’s Sujon Mondol and Daily Star’s Protik Chakrabarty. They also attacked Prothom Alo’s senior correspondent Shariful Hasan as he tried to mediate. The activists brought out sticks from the nearby SM Hall and beat up the journalists a second time.

3. An activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League, student wing of rling Awami League, was killed in an attack by unidentified youths at Meherchandi near the Rajshahi University on Sunday. The deceased was identified as Rabiul Islam, 20, a resident of the area. Police said someone hurled brickchips targeting him from behind when he was roaming at a Baishakhi fair at about 7:30pm, leaving him injured. Injured Rabiul was rushed to Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him dead. Boalia Model Police Station officer-in-charge Ziaur Rahman said his rivals might have attacked the BCL activist as a sequel to previous enmity and conflict. However, another local source said that he came under attack over stealing of a laptop in the area.

All this violence, and the not one notable human rights organization or any stalwart of the ruling party has issued a condemnation. This silence speaks volumes on the current situation of human rights in the country. The dual face of such human rights organizations and secular media is revealed when they remain quiet about these outrageous incidents despite being vocal about the assaults on Nadia Sharmin, crime reporter of Ekushey Television (ETV) and cameraman of Diganta Television during its Saturday’s long march. Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh (HIB)had apologised for the attacks on media people. Recent video footage also shows Hefazat activists shielding the reporter from attacks of a handful of men. Yet 'progressive' and secular society still ridicules the Islamic organization in specific the pro-Islamic section of the society in general for its 'medieval policies' on women and uses the example of Nadia Sharmin to fan their interests. Such are the antics of these sections; adept at locating ants behind them but failing to see the elephant trumpeting in front.

Sad indeed are the times we live in.

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