While the Shahbagh youth movement aims to purge religion of politics and punish those guilty of war crimes, political parties are trying to use it to polarise opinion for the elections, which are due next year in the country.
At Dhaka University, the country’s largest and oldest university, which has been the catalyst in all major national movements, many say the current movement will only lead to more divisive domestic politics.
In the rage triggered by the war tribunal’s verdicts against Jamaat-e-Islami leaders for war crimes, the university has played an important role, one that has been galvanised by social media, of course.
“Politicians are politicians,” Nazla Bushra, who recently joined as a lecturer of geography at the university, says. “They see an opportunity to play politics in everything.”
She said the designs of a political campaign for the ensuing elections were evident from whatever the major political parties were saying about the movement.
The government is considering banning the Jamaat-e-Islami, which it says indulges in “mindless violence”. But it may not find the going easy as Jamaat ally and main Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has charged it with genocide.