Just down the street yesterday at Rajshahi University, there was a drawn-out battle between the Islamist-party (Shibir) students and the secularist party students. About 100 rounds were fired on both sides, the top leader on one side was killed, and many were seriously injured. Unfortunately, this is life-as-usual at Rajshahi University, and most other Universities around the country. For below-average students, joining student political parties guarantees an income for the future. It is said that if you join a party, you get a gun; if you become a leader, you get a motorbike. Shibir (the Islamist party) are known for breaking people’s knees with bricks. The other two parties are no better–there is no such thing as clean politics here; politics is raw power, money and violence. University students find it hard to stay out of parties; they are intimidated to join, and since the residential halls are all controlled by individual parties, you cannot get a seat without joining their particular party. Since the country’s independence movement partially started with university students, universities shy away from limiting political activity. One of our friends is trying to disentangle himself from his student-politics past; he still gets calls from his former boss to help beat people up. The moral of the story; if you live in Rajshahi, steer clear of student politics!

Advertisements