War On Campus
Source Dave Anderson
Date 99/05/01/21:29

/* Written 2:07 PM May 7, 1998 by in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- "War On Campus" ---------- */
Forwarded message:
> From Thu May 7 13:51:29 1998
> Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 14:44:14 -0600 (MDT)
> Subject: War On Campus (fwd)
> South China Morning Post
> Internet Edition
> _________________________________________________________________
> Friday May 1 1998
> Campus wars spark shoot-on-sight threat
> BANGLADESH by Arshad Mahmud in Dhaka
> Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed is considering ordering police
> to shoot armed students on sight as campus violence spirals out of
> control.
> It follows the death of a brilliant student in a shoot-out between
> rival groups at Dhaka University last week, which once again
> focused national attention on campus bloodshed.
> The situation has become so bad that one professor at the
> university says some days he is afraid to allow students to leave
> his lecture room.
> "You hear the sound of shooting and home-made bombs every day -
> morning, afternoon and night," said Serajul Islam Chowdhury, a
> professor of English.
> "Some days it is too dangerous for me to let my students leave the
> classroom after the lecture. Killing has become a part of the
> political system on campus."
> The latest victim of violence that has claimed more than 300 lives
> in the past 24 years was Partha Pratim Acharya, the 62nd student to
> be murdered at Dhaka University.
> The breakdown of law and order on campus has forced university
> officials to suspend classes for weeks, postpone exams and cancel
> sporting and cultural events.
> They, together with independent observers, blame the violence on
> student wings of major political parties along with turf battles
> over scarce resources, such as campus housing.
> Most confrontations are "dormitory grabs" by rival student groups
> seeking valuable living space. There are 25,000 students at Dhaka
> University; its 11 dormitories can accommodate 5,000.
> Hidden caches of weapons, including a rocket-propelled grenade and
> sub-machine gun have been found during police raids on dormitories.
> Acharya died when the pro-Government Chatra League took control of
> three dormitories, driving out supporters of the opposition
> Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), allegedly with police
> protection.
> National parties vie for support on university campuses, which have
> long played a role in Bangladesh's volatile politics.
> In exchange for their support, student groups got extraordinary
> powers over dormitory-room allotments, campus construction projects
> and food vendor concessions.
> Campus rivalries have been further exacerbated by chronic
> unemployment which has dimmed graduates' hopes of finding jobs.
> This has created "professional students", who continue their stay
> on campus long after they have graduated, becoming easy targets for
> political parties offering pay for patronage.
> On Tuesday, the Prime Minister offered to abolish her student
> front, provided other parties reciprocated.
> However, her offer was spurned by BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia, who
> described her overtures as "insincere and hypocritical".
> _________________________________________________________________
> Copyright 1998 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
> All Rights Reserved.

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