Formation of ‘pro-government children’s front’, Sishu League, comes to light

REF: An organisation called ‘Bangladesh Awami Sishu (children) League’ has been formed, adding to the long list of over a hundred organisations operating with ‘Awami League’, ‘Bangabandhu’ and ‘Jatir Pita’ in their names.

Md Faisal Ahammad Munshi, General Secretary of Demra unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League, told he formed the organisation two years ago.

“Today’s children are the future of tomorrow. All parents want their children to become doctors and engineers but not a leader like Bangabandhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman),” he said.

“So I’ve taken the initiative to raise children in the ideals of Bangabandhu.

“Someone from this organisation will become Bangabandhu…lead the nation,” he said.

Munshi said a central committee would be announced soon at the National Press Club.

Programmes, too, would also be announced to draw Awami League chief Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s attention, he added.

“A format of the central committee is ready. Three Union units of Demra have been announced. Evan is the president of the Amtala Union.”

Munshi said only students from Grade-1 to 8 would be eligible to join.

He said Awami League Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap already knew about the group.

Asked about the money to run the organisation, he said he was funding it for now.

He avoided answering a question on inducting children into politics.

“They (children) join us even though we may not want that to happen. We organise programmes with children on the National Mourning Day,” he said.

Munshi expressed his eagerness to be with Sishu League as its advisor once the fully fledged committee was formed.

Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-Ul Alam Hanif reacted angrily when sought his opinion.

“I don’t want to speak about such a good-for-nothing organisation,” he said.

According to the party structure, its associate organisations are clearly identified — Juba League, Krishak League, Swechchhasebak League, Awami Ainjibi Parishad, Juba Mohila League, Mohila Awami League and Tanti League.

The sister organisations are Chhatra League and Sramik League.

UNICEF’s Bangladesh chapter, in 2013, expressed concern over children being at the forefront of demonstrations held by political parties.

“The use of children for political gain must stop,” it had said in a statement.

It also said Bangladesh was a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC), which states that children have to be protected “from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.”

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