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Who are the Muktijuddho Mancha?

  • Published at 06:19 pm December 23rd, 2019
Muktijuddho-mancha-protest 1
File photo: Muktijuddho Mancha stages a protest rally at Dhaka University on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Two detained amidst 24-hr ultimatum given by students, medical board formed to treat Ducsu VP, others hurt, DU forms probe body

Detectives have finally detained two alleged attackers a day after lesser known Muktijuddho Mancha activists unleashed violence at the premises of the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu), badly injuring the Ducsu Vice President and scores of other students.  

The detention and interrogation of two Mancha leaders by the city’s detective branch comes hard on the heels of a 24-hour ultimatum set by general students for arresting the attackers, following the previous day’s incident when the perpetrators also forcibly took away CCTV footage in an apparent bid to erase video proof of the . 

Mounting protests for a second straight day, and an apparent tough stance from government high-ups, ultimately saw some police action against the leaders and activists of Muktijuddho Mancha – which has been hogging newspaper headlines for all the wrong reasons since its emergence as a non-registered organization a little over a year ago, countering the popular quota reform movement.  

The so-called Mancha men actually never faced any legal actions before despite five incidents so far in 13 months where they were guilty of launching attacks, vandalism, and all in the name of upholding the spirit of the liberation war. In the latest Ducsu Bhavan incident, according to eyewitnesses, Mancha men with some Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders and workers were seen launching attacks on Ducsu VP Nurul Haque Nur and his supporters, and  vandalizing the office of the students’ council.   

Students all over the country on Monday joined DU students in raising demands for the arrest and punishment of the attackers, who have allegedly made attacks on Nur and other progressive student activists in the past too. 

Ducsu Vice President Nur, who is now undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, termed the attack an attempt on his life. He said he has been an object of attack since he became the VP.  

Detective Branch of police’s Additional Commissioner Abdul Baten said they picked up General Secretary Al Mamun of a Mancha faction, and the DU unit’s General Secretary Yasir Arafat Turjya, taking them into custody for interrogation.

Al Mamun is a former student of DU’s political science department and was also Chhatra League’s central committee deputy secretary on Liberation War Affairs.  From Gaibandha, he is a former vice president of the A.F Rahman Hall BCL unit.

Yasir Arafat is the organizational secretary of BCL’s Dhaka University unit now.

Muktijuddho Mancha – born to counter popular student movement 

The organisation is not registered with any authority.

When it was formed on October 4, 2018, demanding the restoration of a quota system in government jobs in 2018, Prof AKM Jamal Uddin of Sociology Department of Dhaka University was made convener and Asibur Rahman Khan, son of former Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, was made member secretary. Its DU unit was formed this March with BCL leader Aminul Islam as president and Al Mamun as general secretary.

Jamal Uddin in an October press statement declared that they had expelled Aminul and Al Amin from the organisation on indisciplinary issues.  

The ‘expelled leaders’ however came back with a counter claim that Jamal and Asibur were no longer with the ‘main organisation.’ 

AKM Jamal told Dhaka Tribune that a number of Chhatra League members who did not get posts in BCL’s central committee, and those who had been expelled by the Mancha, were unleashing the attacks to tarnish the organisation’s image.  

Also Read- FFs: Muktijoddha Mancha defaming us, the war

Aminul Islam claimed they did not launch the attack. Rather, Nur “provoked” them. 

About allegations brought by the other faction he said, Jamal Uddin is not with them. He is not the son of a freedom fighter which was the main criteria to be part of the organisation. 

“He is not in our committee anymore,” he said. 

Their activities drew criticism

Jamal Uddin said the main goal of the organization is to stand against social indecency, drugs and corruption, with the help of the people, imbued with the spirit and ideology of the liberation war. 

But on October 20 in 2018, the Muktijuddho Mancha attacked Chhatra Dal’s VP candidate and followers inside Modhur Canteen. In March, centering the Ducsu election, they staged a number of showdowns on campus.

After Jamal Uddin expelled Aminul and Mamun on several allegations, the latter formed a factional committee declaring themselves president and general secretary, respectively.

In recent weeks, they attacked and vandalized the offices of a daily newspaper - Sangram – for referring to an executed war criminal as a ‘martyr.’

The Mancha’s last attack before the one on Sunday, was on Ducsu leaders on the DU campus when they arranged a procession and rally protesting India’s NRC and Citizen Amendment Act.  

On that night, when Nur and his followers went to the Vice Chancellor’s residence demanding justice, the Mancha people attacked them again.

DU probe committee and DMCH medical board formed

Dhaka University authorities have formed a six member probe committee to investigate the attack  at the Ducsu building and Madhur Canteen on Sunday.

Citing the incident as undesired and sad, the authorities formed a six member committee with dean of arts faculty Dr Abu M Delwar Hossain as convener, to probe the incident.

The committee has been asked to find out why and how the incident took place, and to find out who was involved, states a DU press release.

The other committee members are provost of Shamsun Nahar Hall, Professor Dr Supriya Saha, DU senate members Professor Dr Asim Sarker and Dr Mizanur Rahman, Sir PJ Hartog International Hall provost, Professor Dr M Mohiuddin, and DU assistant proctor, Professor Dr Muhammad Mainul Karim.

Dhaka Medical College Hospital authorities on Monday formed a medical board to provide better treatment for the five injured, now undergoing treatment at the hospital.

“A nine member committee has been formed today,” said DMCH Director General Brigadier General AKM Nasir Uddin to the Dhaka Tribune.

“None of them are on life support. One of them, Tuhin Farabi, was provided artificial ventilation because of breathing problems, but he was transferred to the ICU on Sunday because of the pressure of patients in the general cabins,” said the DG, responding to a question.

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