20 injured as Bangladesh Chhatra League, leftist students clash over Modi’s visit 

Activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League have clashed with leftist students at Dhaka University over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit.

>>Reuters
Published : 23 March 2021, 05:06 PM
Updated : 23 March 2021, 05:06 PM

Witnesses said at least 20 people, including journalists, were injured in the clashes at Soparjito Swadhinata Chattar near the TSC on Tuesday afternoon.

Members of BCL, the ruling Awami League’s student wing, gathered in front of Raju Memorial Sculpture on the campus in the morning to resist a programme announced by Chhatra Federation that had plans to burn Modi’s effigy.

The leftist students have been demonstrating against Modi ahead of his visit, demanding he be barred from entering Bangladesh due to his government’s policy towards minority groups.  

Having failed to demonstrate in front of Raju Memorial Sculpture, the Chhatra Federation followers gathered at Sanjeeb Chattar of the TSC. Some BCL activists on motorcycle snatched the effigy away later.

BCL activists then tried to take away Modi’s effigy again when members of Pragatishil Chhatra Jote, an alliance of the leftist student groups, gathered at the TSC after marching in procession.

When the leftist students started burning Modi’s photo, the BCL activists tried to chase them away, triggering a running battle.

Jibon Ahmed, photojournalist of the daily Manabzamin, Rubel Rashid of the Desh Rupantor, Kazi Salauddin Raju of Zuma Press, Jabed Hasnain Chowdhury of the United News of Bangladesh, and freelance journalist ‘Himu’ were injured during the clashes.

Jibon said a person tried to hit his camera with a helmet. Jibon’s left hand was injured when he tried to protect his camera.

Pragati Tapan Barma, general secretary of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front’s Dhaka University unit, was “severely” injured in “brutal attack by Chhatra League workers”, said Salman Siddiqui, president of the unit.

More than 20 leaders and activists of the leftist student groups were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment of their injuries, according to him.

BCL President Al-Nahian Khan Joy and Lekhak Bhattacharya could not be reached immediately for comments.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher