Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hasina is against banning student politics, vows crackdown on illicit activity in universities

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-10-09 17:04:37 BdST

bdnews24

Sheikh Hasina says she will soon order law-enforcing agencies to start a nationwide crackdown on illicit activity in universities and other educational institutions.

The prime minister, however, has said she is against banning student politics altogether, adding that BUET, where a student was killed recently, may opt to separately enforce the ban.

She has also promised to inflict the toughest possible punishment on the killers of BUET student Abrar Fahad, terming the incident “extremely cruel”

Her comments came at a Ganabhaban press conference on Wednesday amidst widespread protests and criticism over the killing of Abrar allegedly by leaders and activists of the ruling Awami League’s student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League or BCL.

“Beating somebody to death is extremely inhumane. I can feel the pain of the parents who lost their child,” she said at the media briefing.

She also promised no political interference in the trial of the Abrar murder suspects.

“I don’t care about political identity when someone commits a crime. A criminal is a criminal to me. We treat them as criminals,” Hasina said.

Media have reported how “drunken BCL activists” bludgeoned Abrar with cricket stumps for six and a half hours last Sunday night. A forensic doctor said he died from excessive bleeding, citing internal injuries.   

“Why this cruelty? Why this heinous act? We are taking action against these [culprits]. No doubt they will face all sorts of tough punishments. I don’t care which party they belong to. Criminals must be tried. We don’t wait for anyone to demand justice,” the prime minister said.

She said the post-mortem examination report of Abrar reminded her of the “tortures of Awami League leaders and activists in 2001”.

“It has naturally aroused suspicion. Who are these [culprits]? Yes, it’s true some people join the party when it is in power. Some people are always the ‘permanent government party’. But I don’t accept this in my party. I called BCL leaders and asked them to expel all [involved in Abrar murder]. I ordered police to arrest them,” the Awami League chief said.

Police have arrested 13 BUET students, including the BCL unit’s general secretary Mehedy Hasan Russell, over Abrar murder. BCL has expelled 11.

The prime minister also asked the media to check why police were initially barred from leaving the campus after collecting a security camera video of Abrar’s hall.

She said she would order searches in all the educational institutions to flush out criminals.

“I will of course do this,” she said and called upon journalists to help find out the irregularities and indiscipline.

Students at public universities in Bangladesh enjoy education and other facilities in exchange for a scant amount of money, Hasina noted and said: “They will occupy seats for Tk 10, Tk 20 or Tk 30 and act like hoodlums while the public will bear all their expenses. It’s unacceptable.”

HASINA AGAINST BANNING STUDENT POLITICS

Abrar murder protesters have demanded a ban on student politics, but the prime minister is averse to the idea.

She says BUET can separately enforce such a ban like many other institutions have.

“But why shall I ban student politics [altogether] while I myself had done student politics,” she asked.

The prime minister recalled the role of Bangladesh’s student politics in movements and nurturing of leadership, including herself.

She blamed the military dictators Ayub Khan and Ziaur Rahman for introducing “dirty politics” to the institutions.

“And banning student politics altogether is the idea of the military dictators. They always wanted student politics outlawed,” she said.

CASINOS AT BHASAN CHAR!

The prime minister joked about illegal casinos on which her administration has recently launched a crackdown and arrested several leaders of the ruling party affiliates.

“Please find out an island for those who have become addicted to gambling at casinos. Some of them might have fled abroad [to gamble].Please find an island for them. We will arrange everything for them [to gamble] there,” she said.     

“Bhasan Char is a huge island. We’ll keep you beside the Rohingya there. Go there,” she told the gamblers drawing a burst of laughter from those gathered.

The government has readied the remote island in Noakhali for planned relocation of the Rohingya refugees from Cox’s Bazar.

“When you grow a bad habit, you can’t leave it. You will go out to find it [casino]. Don’t do this. We will give you a separate place, a corner of Bhasan Char. It's a very good place. There won’t be any problem. As many as 1 million people can be housed there,” a laughing Hasina said.

“But those who want it must make guidelines first, secure licences, and pay taxes. Then you can do anything there. I won’t object,” she said.     

“We will get taxes, money for development. What else do we need! Doing it [gambling] secretly is harmful for society and the country. The country will be alright if we can send them to the shoal,” the prime minister added.