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No end to BCL atrocities

WHAT transpired at Sylhet Agricultural University on Monday was neither isolated nor unprecedented. According to a report published in New Age on Tuesday, a band of activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the students’ front of the ruling Awami League, stormed into the room where tender papers were being received for a Tk 1 crore construction work at the university, swooped on contractors bidding for the work, broke open the tender box and snatched away the tender papers dropped, prompting the tender committee to suspend the process indefinitely. The incident points to continued involvement of BCL troublemakers in tender manipulation on the one hand and sustained inaction by either the government or the ruling party against them, despite their repeated tough talks. It is pertinent to recall that key functionaries of the Awami League and the alliance government that it leads, including the prime minister, have vowed on several occasions not to spare anyone in the Chhatra League if they break any law or create any disorder.
As we have commented in these columns time and again, ever since the Awami League-Jatiya Party government assumed office in January 2009, the Chhatra League has repeatedly hogged the headlines for their excesses and atrocities both inside and outside different educational institutions across the country. They have continued to engage in tender manipulation, admission trade, extortion, rent seeking, abduction, etc. They have so far even tried to rig recruitment to government offices on a number of occasions. Meanwhile, at the outset of the current government’s tenure, they drove away their political opponents, especially the leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal—affiliated to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party—from different campuses, in a bid to establish absolute control there. Not only that, once they gained that control, internecine conflicts within the Chhatra League ensued at regular intervals which sometimes turned gory and led to deaths of many bright students, on the one hand, and closure of the institutions concerned, on the other, disrupting the academic life of thousands more. What is more regrettable is that, being fully aware that such misdeeds have invariably caused a significant damage to its image, neither the government nor the Awami League has taken effective stems to rein in the troublemakers other than issuing stringent warnings from time to time. Their inadequate action, if not inaction, seems to have only emboldened the troublemakers to branch out to more crimes.
It is indeed high time that the government supplemented its tough talks with stringent steps so as to put a leash on the unruly activists of the Chhatra League. It needs to realise that people have already started to believe that it may be unwilling to do so which will eventually cost it dearly.

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