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Extremists active in Dhaka University

Published : 08 Sep 2019 09:09 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:19 PM

While the government is taking credit over its success in containing militancy through continuous crackdown during last several years, an increasing threat for the state is emerging from Dhaka University (DU). On DU campus in recent days, anti-liberation extremist groups like Hizbut- Tahrir and Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), the student wing of Jaamat-e Islami Bangladesh, are carrying out their activities in guise of general students. Members of those extremist organisations are infiltrating other student organisations as well as taking part in different movements created in the name of general students.

Chhatra Shibir cadres are trying to build up a strong base on Dhaka University campus, becoming members of different active student organisations, only to spread and enforce their own subversive ideals, sources from different political and independent student bodies told the Bangladesh post on condition of anonymity.

They alleged that Shibir activists joined different ranks of the Bangladesh Sadharon Chhatra Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad which carried out the recent quota reform movement. They have also infiltrated into some left-leaning student bodies and social organisations in disguise; and using identities of those organisations they are actively carrying out their anti-state activities.

Shibir activists reportedly were actively involved in violent street demonstrations during the quota reform and safe road movements under the banner of general students. They are taking part programmes, including Shahbag road blockade, during different student protests. During the quota reformists movement, Bangladesh Chhatra League president Rezwaanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon claimed that the platform seems to be linked with the Chhatra Shibir. Apart from this, DU VC prof. Akhtaruzzzaman also at a press meet equates quota reformists with militants like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Alongside, another communal extremists group, the Hizbut Tahrir conduct their ill-politics on campus, posters and banners full with extreme messages ‘urging youths to come under their banner to wipe out the government and democracy by militancy’ often appear on campus. Leaders of several students’ organisations have alleged that Shibir members are instigating factional feuds inside their respective parties after infiltrating themselves into their ranks.

The Shibir high command reportedly devised a plan to infiltrate into all levels of educational institutes, but the Dhaka University as called ‘political ground’ of the country, remains on their top priority. Moreover, the Chhatra Shibir was banned at DU by Dhaka University Paribesh Sangsad unanimously to prevent their extremists political agenda on the campus for what they said its pursuing communal politics and its role (then Islami Chhatra Sangha) in the killing of intellectuals during the War of Liberation. A large number of the intellectuals killed at that time belonged to the Dhaka University. The ICS was floated in 1977.

After a long break, ICS made the attempt to get back on campus taking the chance of having no effective opposition party. Sources said, after getting chance of ICS activists at DU, ICS instructed them to engage themselves in particular student organisation like the Chhatra League and left-leaning bodies to hold vital posts in central and hall committees.

Some of ICS activists already taken their ‘covert position’ in the mainstream students organisations like the Chhatra League in both the central and hall committees and operating un-recognized activities like taking illegal money from university’ shops in the name of mainstream political party.

An administrative official of Dhaka University, willing not to be named, told the Bangladesh Post, ‘’We have information of secret activities of communal extremist groups like the Chhatra Shibir and the Hizbut Tahrir. We are very aware of them. The Dhaka university is not for any extremists’ politics but for progressive democracy.’’

Tawhid Hasan, a resident of Bangabandhu Hall told the Bangladesh Post, ‘‘We don’t want to see any further extremists activities like 2013 and before, the Dhaka University is a place for liberal and democratic political practices not for any extremist out-fit, concerned authorities should be aware to resist them timely,’’

Answering the queries, Dhaka University Proctor AKM Golam Rabbani said, ‘‘The Dhaka University is not for any communal politics, we will firmly take actions against any anti-liberation group, if any, trying to create chaos and militancy among general students.’’ ‘‘The Paribesh Sangsad banned Shibir on campus so there is no way to let them work in DU,’’ he stated, urging journalists to write about their covert activities to contain them.

The ICS contested in the last Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) elections in 1990. It was their last and only open activity on the campus, said a teacher of the university on condition of anonymity. "The All-Party Students' Unity ousted the ICS leaders and activists from the campus at the time when they tried to take out a procession in favour of the ICS candidates in the DUCSU."

In February 2014, US-based research group IHS Inc ranked Shibir the third most violent non-state actor in the world in a report titled IHS Jane’s 2013 Global Terrorism and Insurgency Attack Index. Earlier, in 2010, the US Department of Homeland Security, in its report titled “National Consortium for Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism,” said Shibir was associated with international terrorist networks. The International Crimes Tribunal, formed to try the collaborators for crimes against humanity in 1971, branded Jamaat and its affiliates, including Shibir – then named as Islami Chhatra Sangha, as criminal organisations, saying such organisations cannot function in a democratic country.