The student wings of the nation's political parties seldom agree on any issue, let alone organise protests to press the same demand. But the country witnessed a different scene when almost all student organisations demanded the immediate arrest and punishment of the culprit who raped and tortured a Dhaka University student on Sunday.
General students have always felt that student leaders remain busy in the company of their followers and in bullying other students. This negative conception deteriorated when Abrar Fahad, a student of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and
Technology, was brutally killed, allegedly by Chhatra League men. Following the tragic incident, news of torture cells at several other universities came to light. During the tenure of the BNP government a similar point of view about student politics prevailed among the general body of students.
But with student organizations, including the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), protesting the rape and demanding justice, general students have developed a slightly positive attitude to student politics. They believe that protests from all quarters compelled the law enforcers to arrest the rapist within a short time.
Nazim Uddin Farazi, an MBA student of Bijoy Ekattor Hall, told The Business Standard, "Actually we don't like student politics as we don't believe in it. These organisations don't work in the interest of students, but only in their own. But the recent protests voiced by all the student organizations, has brought about a fruitful result. It is definitely appreciable."
"We hope that the student organisations will always work in the general students' interest. If they keep doing such work, I believe they will be able to have their positive image restored," he said.
Jubayer Ahmed, a fourth year student of Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall, said, "Actually the leaders of the student organisations should stand beside the general students whenever they are in trouble. Our previous experience has not been good. But the action of the student organisations from Monday has raised our hopes. They did a really great job."
Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) Vice-President Nurul Haque Nur told The Business Standard that he felt good about the recent movement and considered it a positive sign for the country's student politics. "We will congratulate each and every student organisation if they work for the general students and overall development of the university," he said.
BCL President Al Nahian Khan Joy claimed that his organisation always works for students.
"The recent victim of rape is our sister. It was our moral duty to demand justice for her. We did just that," he said.
President of Dhaka University unit of JCD Rakibul Hasan said his organisation has been working for the students since its establishment. "We are always ready to cooperate with the students. We will not tolerate any injustice to the students and if needed, we will wage a tough movement," he said.
Rashed Khan Menon, a former vice-president of Ducsu, told The Business Standard, "It is the first duty of the student organisations to work for the students."
"In our time, we tried our best to attract students by our positive and student-friendly activities. I am hopeful that the current leaders of the different student organisations will be able to restore the image of student politics," he said.