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BCL chief Sohag: Chhatra League giving importance to moral education

  • Published at 06:23 am November 25th, 2017
BCL chief Sohag: Chhatra League giving importance to moral education
Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student front of ruling Awami League, has often been in the news for various illegal activities of its leaders and activists. Recently, ex-BCL leader Arif Hossain Hawladar was accused of blackmailing, raping and then releasing the video clips of six women online. Arif was the general secretary of Narayanpur union Chhatra League since 2015. In a previous statement, Chhatra League President Saifur Rahman Sohag made it clear that the organization would not take responsibility for the actions of its members. On November 20, the Bangla Tribune got in touch with Sohag to discuss various issues regarding the student front. Bangla Tribune: There have been numerous complaints against Chhatra League leaders in recent times, such as accusations of rape and extortion. Can the organization avoid taking responsibility for actions of its members? Sohag: As soon as accusations were made against any Chhatra League member, the organisation did not wait to find out whether that person was guilty or innocent, the activist was suspended immediately. We hand over suspected criminals to police. We do not take responsibility for a person who has been suspended after being accused of a crime. We do not negotiate with criminals. BT: Does Chhatra League carry out background checks before granting memberships? Sohag: We scrutinize the bio-data of all of our members and leaders. Not all Chhatra League members suspected of illegal activities are hardened criminals, but some face accusations after joining the organization. However, a member faces immediate suspension if accusations of criminal activities are made against him. We are giving more importance to moral education, so that the leaders and activists can refrain from illegal activities in the future. Extended meetings led by divisional representatives, and workshops, will be organized throughout the country to bring back discipline in the organization. Members crossing the line will face organizational action. BT: Previously suspended Chhatra League leaders have been seen in important positions of the organization. Sohag: Members face different types of suspension based on the gravity of their actions. Members also face suspension for not respecting seniority. If someone makes amends and reforms him/herself, should we not allow him to come back? BT: Does Chhatra League take back members who committed serious crimes? Sohag: No, not all crimes can be forgiven. We reinstate membership of people who manage to reform themselves. But not all offenders get this chance. BT: The tenure of the current Chhatra League committee has ended. When will the next conference take place? Sohag: We do not have the jurisdiction to organize conference for the National Central Committee, Prime Minister and also President of Awami League Sheikh Hasina will give us necessary directives for it. The national conference is a continuous process. The conference will be held after forming committees in organizational districts. These things will take time. So far, we have formed committees in 54 districts, a date for the national conference will be fixed once all district committees are formed. BT: According to the Chhatra League constitution, the committee has a tenure of two years, and that time period has long passed. Sohag: The previous committee had stayed around much longer than two years, and the honourable prime minister did not have any objections. BT: What kind of organizational activities is Chhatra League currently involved in? Sohag: As the 11th general election is knocking at the door, Chhatra League is busy forming committees in every union, ward, thana, municipality, district and college across the country. We are also ironing out any issues the district Chhatra League units might have. We have launched a recruitment drive for getting new members and renewing memberships of existing activists. All organizational units are making an effort to spread the achievements of the incumbent government to the people. Among the 109 organizational units, 54 already have committees in the country, while 26 committees were formed abroad. BT: Chhatra League is a student organization, but there are complaints that activists and leaders of this organization have attacked students’ demonstrations on several occasions. Sohag: The allegation that Chhatra League attacked a peaceful demonstration organized by students of seven Dhaka University affiliated colleges in Central Shaheed Minar is a blatant lie. We took part in the demonstration along with the students and helped achieve their demands by negotiating with the university’s vice chancellor. The under-construction dormitory for female students in Jagannath University is direct result of the Chhatra League’s movement. Those who held demonstrations demanding a dormitory in the Old Central Jail building in Dhaka, did so wrongfully. An old prison building cannot be made into a dormitory, so the honourable prime minister allotted land in Keraniganj for a dormitory for Jagannath University. This article was first published on Bangla Tribune
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