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Police cannot be ruthless against university students just because they have guns

18 January 2022 Editorial Desk
Police cannot be ruthless against university students just because they have guns

The authorities of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) on Sunday closed the university after 50 students were injured when police charged batons and shot rubber bullets on them. The students were protesting mismanagement in a female student dormitory and came under police attack when teachers asked law enforcement agencies to calm the situation. Later the authorities ordered students to vacate dormitories within 24 hours.

The clash ensued after police charged batons on the protesting students to free the VC, who was confined in   his office room on the campus. Earlier, the students confined the VC to press home their three-point demand, including the removal of a hall provost, for her alleged misbehaviour with a student. During the clash, police also blasted sound grenades and shot rubber bullets, injuring five students critically, the students alleged.

SUST VC claimed during the clash someone among the students opened fire, while protesting students said VC took the coercive steps to calm the situation that ultimately triggered tension and encouraged police action. Protesting students also demanded a student-friendly hall provost committee and resolve mismanagement at the dormitory. After a failed meeting with the VC on Friday, the students gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the university authorities.

Using rubber bullets and sound grenades in university to disperse agitation is the ugliest example of policing in the country. All quarters of civil society criticised the university authority for making the issue unnecessarily big that exposed poor management capacity of the authority. When universities across the world have become centres of excellence in the study and research and nurtured openness, democratic values, Bangladesh's university failed to provide minimum facilities to the students and drastically failed to set up high moral standards, accountability, dignity among the students.

In absence of academic atmosphere, the universities have made nothing but seats of higher education. The teachers have failed to retain respect of the students for their sycophancy to party politics. We do not need enemies from outside. We are our own enemies to destroy everything good. The teachers are destroying education. Police do not hesitate to beat mercilessly university students. It was never so easy for the police to be ruthless against students. Our police must learn how to be police in a free country.

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