Barishal University: Will general students continue to be assaulted?

Prothom Alo illustration

Mukul Ahmed, a student of Barishal University, was supposed to be in the classroom. Instead, he is groaning in hospital. Several students said that activists of Bangladesh Chhattra League tortured him through the night, broke his arm, and then locked him up in a room.

The next day, Friday, he was rescued and taken to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital by ambulance. Later, he was shifted to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) in Dhaka.

Two students of the English department – Tanzid alias Monju and Shihab Uddin – allegedly tortured Mukul Ahmed. Previously, they also allegedly tortured, hacked and cut the tendon of the legs of Ayat Ullah, a student of the marketing department and the activists of Chhatra League’s rival group.

Mukul was tortured because he protested ragging on Facebook. He wrote in Messenger, “The juniors have been called using the batch number, yet we know nothing about it. Previously many students also faced ragging in such a way. At that time, we had to explain to the teachers of the department. Now, students have been called again, and we not nothing. This is nothing but an excess.”

After his message, so-called Chhatra League leaders Monju and Shihab called Mukul to a room in Bangabandhu hall. They then labelled him as a Shibir activist and started punching and kicking, as well as beat him with GI (galvanized iron) pipes and the handle of a chair and then broke one of his hands. At one stage, Mukul lost consciousness and they left the room around 3:00pm locking it up from outside.

Mukul, who is in severe pain, said from the hospital bed, “I am not involved in politics. I study at university to so I can take care of my parents, but they beat me and maimed me.” Mukul lodged a written complaint to the university administration over the incident. After that, the authorities sealed room number 4018 which the BCL occupied illegally and apparently used as a torture cell. Where general university students are not getting seats in halls, how do the Chhatra League leaders keep the room occupied illegally?

Though there is no committee of Chhatra leader, a feud persists between the two rival groups. One of the groups is loyal to the former mayor of Barishal City Corporation Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah and another to the state minister for water resources Zahid Faruk. Sadiq Abdullah dominated the political dominion in Barishal until the city corporation election. The situation changed after the election and rivals became strong.

Following the complaint filed by victim Mukul, the authorities completed their responsibility by sealing the room, known as a torture cell. A case was filed following the infighting of those two groups in August, but law enforcement agencies took no action. It is not unknown to the university administration who is carrying out violence on the campus in the name of the Chhatra League. Yet they are silent. So, will violence continue to mar the campus and innocent students will continue to be assaulted?

Not only in Barishal University, students also faced tortures one after another in Rajshahi University where the ruling party’s student front cares none. The name of Chhatra League is also coming up in the wrongdoings repeatedly at Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Chittagong University and Islamic University, Kushtia. Leaders and activists of this organisation are infighting, extortion and ragging, there are also desparate to beat the journalists. Though they faced institutional and organisational punishment, that was not effective enough. As a result, universities have apparently become hostage to Chhatra League, and we want such a situation must end.