Bangladesh Student League, stumbling block of a democratic Awami League

Rasel Pervez

Rasel Pervez

Bangladesh is possibly the most undemocratically democratic country in the world. Since its emergence, it has been ruled, in total, for 17 years by meta-democratic, often military-led regimes and born-out-of-Cantonment pseudo-democratic parties. Here party councilors do not elect political leaders but they are selected. Political leaders are succeeded by their heirs. They are selected on the basis of their loyalty towards party chief. This will become clear if we just compare the effects of the National Party Council of Awami League and BNP, parties that ruled Bangladesh for a period ranging over twenty odd years.

On 24th July 2009, Awami League held the party’s National Council to elect new leadership and ratify provisional changes brought to its constitution to meet the criteria for registration with the Election Commission (EC).

Sheikh Hasina was elected the Awami League (AL) President for the sixth time while Syed Ashraful Islam was elected the General Secretary for three years without any contest.

According to Article 21 of the AL constitution, however, the president, presidium members, general secretary, departmental secretaries, and the treasurer must be elected by the triennial council.

Party National Council, however, did not follow party charter properly in electing leadership. They only elected party president and secretary general and empowered newly elected AL chief Sheikh Hasina to choose leaders for 45 posts that include 13 members of the party Presidium, 31 departmental secretaries, and seven organizing secretaries, and a treasurer.

Immediately after Khaleda Zia’s release from the prison, clash between the reformist and the loyalist sections of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) hurt BNP as a political party and it cost Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan’s political career. But in the post-1/11 scenario, as a political party BNP had lost a lot, they failed to hold Upazilla and Zilla council.  Clashes over leadership in councils were the most common news feature about BNP Zilla Council.

Though BNP, after 16 years, also held its National Council, the most significant and yes, deplorable outcome of the Council was the creation of an all-powerful senior vice chairman post in the party and election of Tarique Rahman for that post.

Khaleda Zia was elected as chairperson of BNP without contest.

As regards to holding election for other posts in the party, the BNP National Council followed its arch-rival AL National Council’s all-in-one power-position. It empowered re-elected BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to nominate leaders for party’s national standing and executive committees, ignoring the party charter that clearly stipulates election for the posts.

The extended party meeting of ruling Awami League after 20 months breaks raised hope.

Syed Ashraful Islam, elected general secretary, had said “District and Upazila-level councils will be held after a countrywide drive for new member.” According to him, AL would bring in fresh leadership in every grass-root level committee. But the process could take up to three years to complete.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and also the president of Bangladesh Awami League was present there. In her presence Advocate Ajmat Ullah, general secretary of Gazipur zilla Awami league, in his speech, said that it should be decided whether the elected members will have the power to control the party or the party will control its elected members.

He had pointed out the fact that each and every one of the MPs has been elected not by their own popularity and public image but rather they were elected only because all the party members had worked for them in 2008 national election.

Advocate Akram Hossain, president of Pirojpur Awami League, said elected MPs should work in accord with the grass-root level activists. He accused the MPs of being aloof and this aloofness is making them drift further away form the mass.

Aolad Hossain Badol, general secretary of Awami League, Nilphamary, addressed Party President Sheikh Hasina and said the gap between the party and the government had widened as the elected MPs think they are the only fundamental parts of the party.

In the presence of the MPs and of course in the presence of Party president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, exhibition of such gallant accusations and finger-pointing is quite unthinkable, but that shows the hard fact that at least Awami League has learned something important. To hear and be heard is the only way of good governance.

Grass-root party activists and party leaders have said they did not even feel that their party is in power, and the only fraction that is feeling that power and abysmally misusing the power is BCL.

But the saga of abusing power continues:

The Representation of the People Order (RPO) clearly prohibits a registered political party from forming any affiliated or associated organization of professionals, students, teachers, employees, or laborers.

Complying with RPO, AL in its amended constitution ratified by its National Council severed its ties with Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Jatiya Sramik League, two previously associated organizations of the party for students and laborers respectively. These organizations, many a time, were the driving forces of the party.

It is reported that Awami League has severed its ties with Bangladesh Chatra League[ BCL], and Sheikh Hasina on 4th April 2009 quit the post of organizational chief because of the ongoing power abuse of BCL. This manifests a legal reality that organizationally BCL is not a part of the ruling party anymore but the party and political reality is most of the student leaders are loyal to the MPs anyways and these MPs are the ones protecting these unruly thugs and miscreants. Needless to say, these MPs are also the governing force of the party against whom the resentment is strong at grass-root level too.

Editorial of The Daily Star on 2nd February wrote a congenial academic atmosphere is now absent even in many reputable institutions due, largely, to the activities of the ruling party’s student wing fanning out in different money-making directions which often involve high-scale abuse of power and physical force. In addition to indulging in Tender business, the BCL cadres are reportedly thriving on booming admission business in the colleges.

Bangladesh Chhatra League men halted interview of the first year (Hons.) admission at Sathkhira City College for about half an hour demanding a “political quota” and kept hindering the holding of interview at Dhaka College.

Because of their internal feud, at least 25 people were injured as the two Chhatra League fractions fought over control of Sir AF Rahman Residential Hall at Dhaka University.

Among the injured, Abu Bakar Siddique, a third year Islamic History student, died in the hospital.

As news of the death reached the DU campus, students of the Islamic History department brought out a procession protesting the death.

On the eve of the opening ceremony of Omar Ekushe Gronthomela, student activists of BCL beat the female student activists of BNP but the ever partisan policemen took the victim in custody instead of the aggressive miscreants.

It needed to end at some point.

Police, MPs and all other local and national leaders should not turn a blind eye to this continuous and horrific power abuse of BCL student activists. The laymen are dismayed and deeply enraged in this regard. And, we know from our experience, irrespective of the political part that governs the executive, the government always turns deaf when it comes to public voice and outrage.

This time, they rather should not.

Rasel Pervez, prominent blogger in Bangla blogsphere who is famous for his political analysis. Mr, Rasel Pervez completed his MS on Physics from the US and awaiting PHD.


383 Responses to “Bangladesh Student League, stumbling block of a democratic Awami League”

  1. Engr Khondkar Abdus Saleque( Sufi)

    In any neutral reasearch it will appear that true form of democracy has never existed in Bangladesh. Brute majority of Awami League in 1972-75 made them autocrat and Mahajote from 2009….. is tending to take them on the same route.We must not talk about military rulers
    ( perverted democracy from 1975-1990) .BNP also did not follow democratic norms whenever they were in state power. So we must not talk about democarcy in the context of Bangladesh till now.
    Now look back and look around.Before 1947 Pakistan ( East and West) and India were part of greater India.Since 1947 absence of true democracy has made Pakistan almost a failed state.Bangladesh situation is a bit better but only just.Look at India.Democarcy resides there.Military rule was never there .India is the emmerging super power.
    Now compare student politics of 1960s and 1970s with what we see now.In our time usually the first boy in the class used to be class captain.He grew to leadership and delivered quality.Now the worst one capture it.
    Student politics led our Language movement., liberation war.Toafel, Razzak, Matia, Menon, Enu are all products of student politics. Starting from Ovi, Neeru, Aman, Pintu and present crop of full time businessmen and students by deafult student leaders are shames. BCL and JCD are nothing different.
    We are not very sure whether PM Hasina has total control over BCL now. She is not realising that agressivse BCL has alreday caused massive damage and dents. If she fails to check and control it may cause disaster in no time.Opportunists are gradully isolating her.Chamchara ebhabey Bangabandhukeyo isolate koeycheelo.
    PM Hasina must put full stop to BCL agressive politics without any delay.It is now or never situation. If PM takes the lead Khaleda will be forced to do that .If peace in student front is not restrored beaucrats dominated Mahajote government will soon have to look for rat holes to hide.

  2. Javed Zaman

    The students played a glorious role prior to and during independence. Since then it has lost its credibility in the eyes of the people. Therefore,student politics should be banned in the country. This energy should be diverted into compulsory voluntary works funded by the government (Money for work). Dhaka University should have a mock senate for student reps who can serve as interns at the PM’s office, the judiciary and the Jatiyo Sangshod to get first hand experience on how the government works. They should be given projects involving all sectors, i.e., science and technology, health, energy, family planning, social work, disaster management, flood control, water resource management, agriculture, rural development, diplomacy, etc., to formulate and how they can be implemented.

    The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done many good things since she came to power. I would request the PM to take the lead.I know she is a down-to-earth type of person and is goal-oriented in her approach. She should take the lead and then throw the challenge at BNP to do the same.

    There’s one more request to the PM. Here too, the ruling party, Bangabandhu’s populist Awami League should set an example.If the Awami League decides to do it then there’s no reason for others to follow. The government should allocate between two to five acres of land to all the major political parties in the outskirts of Dhaka and sanction them enough fund officially to let them build structures there for their political activities. Both the Awami League offices at Bangabandhu Avenue and Dhanmondi and the BNP offices at Gulshan and Purana Paltan and other political party offices should be moved out of the traffic-clogged capital Dhaka. This idea can also be applied to schools, colleges and clinics mushrooming in the suffocating Dhaka. In today’s information highway based society information can be retrieved at the click of a button from anywhere anytime. Since the PM has pioneered the visionary Digital Bangladesh concept she will understand it better than anyone else.

  3. Rasel Pervez

    student politics should be banned in the country.

    I don’t think student politics is the problem here. students have every right to express there opinion, they should have more say in country’s policy. In our country where only about 10% of people has a Bachelor degree, you would expect all of should come forward to build a strong nation. If you have to blame some one, blame all the persons who are creating and nurturing this beasts. they re none other than our senior party leaders, our MPs and our big businessmen. take strong action against them, what’s gone wrong is entirely because students were used to serve their causes. they did not get the blame only blame came upon student politics.

    I am not supporting this ugly student politics, they are not working for a better education policy, they are not fighting for student facilities, they are fighting over tenders.

    I have talked with several people, who voted AL in last election, and asked them whether it will be better for AL if they ban the political activity of BCL for at least 2 years. They all think, if PM manages to do it immediately, it will further help AL in next election. peoples back are on the wall, all they want is a relief from this reign of terror.

  4. Rasel Pervez

    We are not very sure whether PM Hasina has total control over BCL now. She is not realising that agressivse BCL has alreday caused massive damage and dents.

    I don’t think PM has any control over BCL. it is not true that she is unwilling to make that change, but the fact is, AL thinks, if they ban BCL, control of the colleges and universities will be in the hand of JCD and shibir, and they don’t want it to happen. but on the contrary if PM orders that BCL political activities will be banned for at least 2 years, police will do wonder, and they will capture all the cadre who are behind tender business. now they remain dumb, blind and deaf because they are not sure whether that miscreant is a BCL activist or not. if they some how managed to believe he/she is not a BCL activist, they took stern action against them.

  5. Saba Karim

    Dhaka University should have student IDs like the national ID for all all students. It should have a five to seven year expiry period after which no so-called goons in the guise of students will be allowed to remain in the campus.

    @parvez

    I do not agree. It is the military dictators who destroyed student politics by supplying arms in the campuses. It was Ziaur Rahman first who used DFI(Defence Forces Intelligence) to bribe and corrupt students. General Ershad later kept the tradition alive. The DFI also supplied arms to student parties to create chaos in the campus and thereby fish in troubled waters.

    It is only politicians and a thriving democracy under an elected constitutional giovernment that can bring about change. I am hopeful and I am sure this AL government can do it.

  6. abid

    Please read
    Abid Bahar, AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF BANGABANDHU AND BANGLADESH, groups.yahoo.com/group/bdresearchers/message/4231?var=1&p=2 –

    Bangabandhu is the founder of the BCL.
    Please see his early life. He finished his Matriculation at the age of 22 when most students finish M. A. That is the father of the nation.
    Due to the irrational behavior of hero-worshipping despite the fact that we all love Bangladesh but we fail to see something wrong in the political culture.

  7. Ruhan

    Praner dame ai Bangladesh er Sthopoty Jatir janok Bangabondhu Sheikh Mujeeb er ai Banglay Tar hate gora Songothon Bangladesh Satra lig amar Praner Sangathan

  8. Md.Mahamudul Hasan Shohan

    I like the students league and I want to join thier works.

  9. Ashiqur Rahman Rono

    Oboshese Satro League council korse. 10-11 july 2011 at Bangabandhu Convention Centre.asa kori ebar netritto asbe Joggota, Medha, Porisromi & Experience er vittite. Notuba “SATRO league” abaro o “shishu leageue” hobe. chain of command break hobe.
    Asa kori amra joggo netritto pabo.

  10. Md. shahidul islam shahid

    i”m a releted parson of bangladesh student league, in sunamgonj. I like bangladesh student league. I thanks our govt. Leader deshorotno netri shek hassina for gift bangladesh studunt league new presidet and secretari. I also thanks our new president shuhag bhai and secretari najmul bhai. I love bangladesh student league and i’m happy to join in bangladesh student league. I’m a member in sunamgonj zela bangladesh student league. Good luck for bangladesh student league. I pray for bangladesh student league long live. Thanks all member of bangladesh student league. Banladesh STudent LEague JINDBAD. All the best bangladesh student league. Prodan monti deshrotno SHEk HASSINA JINDABAD……. Bangladesh student league JINDABAD…….

  11. Mahfuj Ahmed

    IT IS FOUNDED BY THE FATHER OF THE NATION BONGGO-BONDHO SHEIK MUJIBOR RAHMAN ……..I AM A REALETED PERSON OF BANGLADESH STUDENT LEAGUE,IN MUNSHIGONJ OF KALMA UNION SAKHA.I THANKS TO OUR HONOURABLE PRIMINISTER SHEIK HASINA FOR DECLEARED THE NEW LEADER OF BCL.I ALSO THANKS OUR NEW LEADER H M BODDIUZZAMAN SOHAG(PRESIDENT)AND SIDDIQUE NAZMUL ALAM(SECRATARY).I LOVE BCL AND I PRAY FOR BCL……………….JOY BANGLA……JOY BONGGOBONDHO.

  12. Nasir uddin

    I’m proud that i’m a member of bsl.We r verry haqpy bsl new commiti. Nasir uddin al mahmud Nayon bsl New model

  13. Chy M. H. Iliase ( Dinar )

    Ami Chy M. H. Iliase ( Dinar ), Joint secretary Bangladesh Chatro League, Sylhet Mohanogor, Bangladesh chatro league aaj dongser pothe, 8/10 bosor hoye gese onek unit ekono commiti nai, protiti unit e groping ase, proti programme mara mari, jono netri shekh hasina apni songotoner dike nojor den , sorkarer che dol boro karon dol sorkar banay but sorkar kokono dol banay na, dol bachle sorkar hobe, amader m p , minister ra 100 k m speede gari chalan tader saya o amra chatro neta ra pai na, tader aspas gire chamcha r tel mara party gure beray, tara ajj onek taka kamachche r doler dussomoye eder saya o deka jabe na kintu amra jara chatro songotoner netara tara jibon baji reke college, university te joy banglar potaka urai kintu dukker ate bolsi amader kuno mullaion nai, amra poketer taka diye songoton chalai , amader kun chakri hoi na karon amra taka dite pari na, chakri hoi jamat shibir bnp er karon onek oenek taka dei amader netader,
    aaj kub kosto niye bolte hoi amra boroi nirjatito, obohelito…

  14. kamal khan

    bongobhondhur adarsha buke niye chatraleague valobese desher manusher kollane kaz korte chai……..

  15. mithun biswas(MITHU)

    bartoman chattrolig bongobondhur adarsha buk nia kicui kora na, shudu komotar apobaboher kora durniti are tander baji oi kora……………….jati kintu thader kaj thaka tha chi na…………………ahmader desha ki valo manus koma galo

  16. A. K. M. Mokammell Hayder (Sejer)

    Chatralealeague er jonno ami amar jibon utsorgo korlam.

  17. abid bahar

    Mujib and Chatro League
    Read the life of Mujib, then you will hate to work for Chatro League. Mujib was a dandabaz (musalman) established Chatro League in his own image. Awami League was founded by Maulana Bhasani which was turned into a corrupt cadre based party by Mujib. We should ban both Chatro League as well as Mujib the dandabaz as the father of the nation. To help our nation survive we need to teach young people to tolerance and respect to differences in opinions and to respect law. This type of attitude will help the nation to grow. Bangabandhu was good to fight against Pakistan but now his dandabazi (one party BKSAL) rule is very harmful for the country.
    Link: groups.yahoo.com/group/bdresearchers/message/4231?var=1&p=2 –

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