Ban on student politics may fuel radicalisation

Shawkat Ali Khan

17 October, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Imposing a ban on student politics at educational institutions may fuel radicalisation, leading to further rise of religious fanatics in the country, analysts said.

Political analysts as well as student leaders fear that banning of student politics on campus will help emergence of the evil forces.

Talking to the daily sun, they made the remarks after the authorities of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) on October 11 announced a ban on student politics on the campus following a brutal murder of Abrar Fahad.

Buet student Abrar was beaten to death by some BCL men for his Facebook post criticising some deals between Bangladesh and India and his suspected involvement with Jamaat-Shibir.

Jamaat-e-Islami, which does politics based on religion, opposed the country’s War of Liberation in 1971.

Former student leaders apprehend that the decision to ban student politics on the Buet campus may invite Islamist fanaticism.

Some analysts are also critical of the ban on student politics at Buet, saying that private universities are free from student politics.

But, it is reported that a number of students have link with militancy and some of them have been arrested.

They say that such a decision may help Islami Chhatra Shibir, a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, run their activities in the name of inviting students for prayers and other religious programmes.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique says that activities of Shibir and radical forces may increase on the campus with the ban of student politics.

“If the politics of pro-liberation parties stops on the campus, there is a chance of a rise of Shibir and other radical groups,” he told the daily sun.

Addressing a press briefing, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ruled out the demand for banning student politics following the Abrar killing.

Mentioning the Abrar murder not a part of student politics, she said the real reason behind the murder needs to be unearthed.

Student politics cannot be prohibited because of a single incident. If Buet thinks, it can ban (student politics). We won’t interfere,” she said.

Opposition BNP has also raised voice against the ban on student politics.

Briefing reporters, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the entire student community should not be blamed for any wrongdoings of BCL.

“The student community has been standing against unfairness, injustice and inequality in society for ages. They sacrificed blood by joining the Language Movement, Liberation War and other democratic movements,” he said.

Rashed Khan Menon, who led Students’ Union during the Pakistani regime, also raised voice against the ban on student politics at a programme in Chattogram.

“Politics of murder must be stopped at educational institutions. But, it doesn’t mean that student politics should be banned. Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and me – we all had done student politics,” he said.

CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim, who was the first VP of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union, believes that the Abrar killing took place due to absence of student politics.

“The solution lies in freeing student politics from the clutches of the criminalised forces instead of banning student politics,” he said.

Alleging bigger crimes being committed in national politics, he said, “Should we ban national politics then?”