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RU Shut Indefinitely After Series Of Clashes PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 March 2009

Rajshahi University closed indefinitely after an Islami Chhatra Shibir leader was killed and scores were injured in campus clashes with Bangladesh Chhatra League on Friday.

Jamaat and Shibir leaders blamed ruling party Awami League for the "incident".

Sharifuzzaman Nomani, general secretary of the RU Shibir unit, died around midday, Rajpara Police Station OC Anisur Rahman told

Assistant proctor Moshtaq Ahmed told the authorities decided to shut down the public university and asked male students to vacate dormitories by 5pm; female students would have to leave theirs by 10am Saturday.

The university would provide buses to help the students leave the campus, Ahmed added.

Hundreds of activists of the Jamaat-backed ICS gained control of the Rajshahi University campus from noon after two days of tension and clashes with rivals including the ruling Awami League-backed BCL.

Eight to 10 people including police were injured, witnesses said.

"A fierce gun battle is on," a campus insider told in the morning.

Journalists, including the correspondent, covering the violence were forced out of the campus.

They said over a hundred ICS activists were sued Thursday after nearly 500 of them, carrying firearms, entered the campus Wednesday, seeking to flush out rivals.

Police in an overnight raid detained 68 ICS activists after the campus BCL chief filed the case, naming senior Shibir and Jamaat men.

The clashes between ICS and BCL activists backed by locals resumed in the early hours Friday, police said.

Jamaat, ICS blame AL

Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman told at noon: "Chhatra League is assisted by the government."

He sought the intervention of the prime minister.

He condemned Nomani's killing, saying, "It was a planned incident."

"If the Chhatra League cadres aren't brought to task, the situation will worsen," warned Kamarazzuman.

He claimed ruling party Awami League was to blame.

An ICS leader later alleged the government staged the latest "incidents" at Rajshahi University to
conceal the facts behind the Feb 25-26 BDR mutiny.

"Awami League's link to the BDR massacre is being revealed…the incident (at RU) has been staged to move the focus away from it," ICS central president M Rezaul Karim said at a press conference Friday evening.

Reading out a statement, he said armed members of ruling party-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League with help from the police and university authorities attacked ICS members and general students that morning.

He told the press that Nomani was killed by a group of BCL members led by RU BCL president
Ibrahim Hossain Moon.

He blamed the government for inciting BCL to take control of educational institutions in the country, Karim said the government is creating "a conspiracy to turn Bangladesh into a failed state".

He announced countrywide ICS protest programmes on Saturday, campaigns and meetings between March 16 and 19.

"If the government fails to arrest the culprits behind the killing of Nomani by this time, we will have to come up more with serious programmes," said Karim.

RU BCL leader sues Shibir, Jamaat men

Motihar police chief Rafiqul Islam Khan told Friday, "Rajshahi University BCL president Ibrahim Hossain Moon filed a case Thursday night against four to five hundred ICS activists, naming 164 of them."

"He accused them of attacking BCL leaders and activists, vandalising their rooms at the dorms and using explosives."

Names of Rajshahi city Jama'at-e-Islami leader Emajuddin Mandal, RU ICS president Delwar Hossain Saidi and general secretary Nomani were included in the case statement, police said.

The case was filed after ICS activists and BCL activists clashed violently at the university Wednesday, forcing the RU authorities to close of six dormitories.

Clashes spread

At around 9am Friday, a local trader of Binodpur was attacked, bringing the angry locals into the fight. They joined the BCL activists to counter the Shibir onslaught.

Clashes spread to the Station Bazaar area, where police and RAB rushed.

The Dhaka-Rajshahi highway was closed as the clashes erupted Friday morning, police said.


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