Islami Chhatra Shibir has been perpetrating a reign of terror on Rajshahi University campus for over two decades with the backup from university administration and pro-Jamaat teachers.
Their terror activities cannot be controlled at present as some teachers loyal to Jamaat-e-Islami have been in the administration posing as Awami League loyalists, a few RU teachers told The Daily Star.
Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat, has been able to carry out criminal activities and get away with it since the pro-Jamaat teachers have tactfully recruited their men in the RU administration as teachers, officials, proctors and even the vice-chancellor, they said.
Another source said even an intelligence agency has worked in favour of Jamaat-Shibir during the recruitment of VC, Pro-VC, proctors and other top officials by giving positive reports to the government on teachers who have good links with Jamaat or work as "secret agents" of that party.
The source alleged that present Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdus Sobhan and his close ally Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed both have good relations with Jamaat teachers and are secretly working in favour of Shibir men.
This administration, which includes the VC, the proctorial body and pro-Jamaat teachers, always works for Shibir men, a teacher of the university said, wishing anonymity.
Only the administration of former VC Abdul Khaleque could control Shibir with a strong hand, but others have actually worked to help the student body establish its supremacy on the campus during the tenures of both Awami League and BNP, the teacher said.
Proctor Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria comes from a family with BNP background and Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed comes from a family with Jamaat background while Students' Adviser Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu took part in an election at the university from pro-Jamaat panel, an RU teacher said.
"Except for the pro-VC, all key position holders are loyal to Jamaat, so, why will they control the cadre-based politics of Shibir?" he said.
When contacted, the RU VC did not agree to speak to The Daily Star.
Tapu claimed that he contested the RU Syndicate election from the group of Quader Bhuiyan. "Chowdhury Muhammad Zakaria was also in that group along with other progressive teachers. But I left the group when it went political," Tapu told The Daily Star.
Proctor Chowdhury Zakaria told The Daily Star that none of his family members except a maternal uncle, who died, is involved in BNP politics. "My family has a number of Awami League leaders also. Why don't you write about it?" he said.
When contacted, Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed said, "It would be very difficult to find someone in my family who is involved with Jamaat-Shibir. None of my brothers and sisters and my father are involved with Jamaat-Shibir."
According to the university administration sources, there are around 1,100 teachers at RU of whom around 325 belong to the progressive parties, 300 are loyal to BNP and 400 to Jamaat.
To maintain its supremacy on the campus, Shibir keeps pressuring the university people by issuing threats directly and indirectly, sources said.
Around 60 incidents of clashes among the student wings of different political parties have taken place on RU campus since 1971, which left 28 people killed and over 2,100 injured, sources in the RU administration said.
The university remained closed for over 600 days because of the clashes.
Shibir has been involved in most of the clashes since 1980s after it started its activities on the campus in 1980. Towards the end of the '80s, left -leaning student wings including Chhatra Moitree became weak organisationally, which helped Shibir establish its supremacy.
In the latest incident on Tuesday, Shibir men hacked to death Faruk Hossain, an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League, in Shah Mokhdum Hall. Around 100 people were injured in the overnight clashes between the activists of BCL and Shibir following the death.
Sources said Shibir killed Faruk as a revenge for the killing of RU unit Shibir general secretary Sharifuzzaman Nomani on March 13 last year.
A leader of the RU Officers' Association said, "Shibir men used to build a relatives base through marriage in the university area. Later, they started storing arms and sharp weapons in the houses of their new relatives and used to stage showdowns on the campus."
Shibir collects tolls from students and businessmen in the name of various programmes and publications to run its cadre-based politics.
"We are forced to buy their publications, no matter we support it or not," an RU student said.
"Shibir generally targets the poor students of the university and tactfully involves them in its politics by giving them financial help and seats in the halls," a teacher told The Daily Star.
Shibir has a strong base not only in and around the RU campus but also at other intuitions in Rajshahi city. The RU unit Shibir has been controlling the university campus with the help of its city unit. Even Shibir cadres from other educational institutions join the RU unit during any clash at RU.
The pro-Jamaat teachers also give strong backup to Shibir through ideas, planning, financial help and various administrative facilities, including seat allotment at halls, sources said.
THE CULTURE OF
Shibir at Rajshahi University uses various methods and devices for torturing its targets both mentally and physically, including killing, intimidation, beating and cutting tendons.
Political rivals, students, even teachers and journalists have fallen victim to such tortures over the years.
In the '80s, Shibir was known as the rog-kata (tendon-cutting) party, a reference to its favourite tactic of maiming opponents by slicing their tendons. Shibir men would also often cut off the wrists of their opponents.
The practice severely damaged its image as a party, which forced them to change their methods of torture.
Shibir cadres visit target students in different rooms in university dormitories every day to get them involved in their political activities like group meetings, rallies and processions, keeping mental pressure on them, sources said.
They said the Shibir cadres take their targets on a "remand" confining in a room and give them the last warning for acting as per their direction. They threaten them with dire consequences if they fail to do so.
Shibir men would take students who go against their directives or fail to give tolls and beat them up mercilessly with iron rods and hammers wrapped in cloth. The method has seldom led to their victims' death but has caused permanent disability to many, sources said.
However, RU Shibir has apparently returned to their earlier method of cutting tendons as their cadres cut off the tendons of at least four BCL men and hacked another to death.
Shibir men have always had a psychological pressure on the university students, teachers, officers and employees, journalists and even high officials of the university. This has prevented the RU people from expressing their voices freely.