Abrar killing questions our humanity

Quamrul Hassan | Update:

Abrar FahadThe killing of Abrar Fahad, a Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) student, has shaken us to the core.

And it is no ordinary death -- his fellow students, who breathed in the same air of the same university, killed him in cold blood.

The CCTV footage that shows the killers, all leaders of the Sher-e-Bangla Hall's Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) unit, carrying the victim to be left on the stairs is even more shocking. They do not seem unnerved by the fact that they have almost killed a fellow student (assuming that he was still alive then).

The fact that he was studying in the much coveted Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) department tells us how meritorious he was and this is certainly a big loss, not only for BUET, but also for the country.

Oh, and we forget his family. One evening and it will never be the same again for his parents. All the dreams they had over the last 21 years are gone overnight. Just in the morning his mother saw him off at the bus counter in Kushtia, little did she know that it would be her last. Nobody in the world can feel their pain, suddenly dealt with the blow of their son’s murder.

We wonder what the murderers, also BUET students, were thinking while they were beating Abrar mercilessly.

How come they did not have the least humanity? Were they drunk? Were they too confident that nothing would happen to them?

There were at least 10 people in or around the room. How come none of them asked the others to stop before it was too late? Were their hearts sealed with lead?

We need to find the answers. Abrar died in the beating but we believe it is no isolated incident. In all the dormitories at the public universities across the country, Abrars are tortured every day. And that is an open secret.

The Daily Star has quoted an assistant provost of a BUET hall saying that BCL had rooms -- known to be torture cells -- in all the halls of the university.

A specific room in each hall is used by the Chhatra League men. It is their domain and no one else is allowed there, according to that teacher.

How can the authorities sit idle and not take steps to stop these heinous acts is beyond us.

The killers need to be handed exemplary punishment so that no one dares to repeat such a crime in the future.

Legends have it that Shibnarayan Das completed the first very first design of our national flag in one of the rooms at the very same Sher-e-Bangla Hall. The irony of it!

* Quamrul Hassan is a journalist working for Prothom Alo. He could be reached at quamrulhassan@prothomalo.com

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