Abrar murder: Meet the students' demands

Update:

It's commendable that the investigating officers submitted the charge sheet of BUET student Abrar Fahad murder case in just five weeks. All the 25 named in the charge sheet that has been submitted to the chief metropolitan magistrate of Dhaka are students of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET) and involved in student politics. Among the accused four are fugitive and the rest are behind bars. Abrar Fahad, a second year student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering department of BUET, was beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists on 7 October.

Investigation revealed that the accused were not only involved in Abrar killing, but had been involved in other sorts of crimes and created a milieu of fear on the campus. It also revealed that in the name of ragging they assaulted many for dissent.

The government has been praiseworthy in prioritising the case and not interfering in the investigation which is why the probe was completed fast. We hope that the trial too will be done swiftly. The case will be tried under the speedy tribunal act. The trial of Feni madrasa student Nusrat proved that fast disposal of a murder case is possible if the government is sincere. It was completed within six months of the murder. Abrar's family too expressed satisfaction over the speedy investigation. The government should prioritise every murder case. This would allow to punish the convicts fast and the rate of crimes too will decrease.

The agitating students of BUET restated their three demands after the charge sheet was submitted. These included expulsion of the accused from BUET, punishment of the accused over ragging at Ahsan Ullah, Titumir and Suhrawardy halls, and inclusion of policies with the BUET ordinance banning party politics and ragging.

The students, after holding a meeting with VC Saiful Islam, director of student welfare office and faculty deans on 2 November, pledged on their return to the classrooms if the demands were met. After the submission of the charge sheet, No. 1 demand has no barrier to be met. The university administration itself said that the names appearing in the charge sheet would be expelled. There is no room for a different opinion as the authority met the two other demands in policy too. The government holds the power to amend the university ordinance, but the university administration has no bar to make recommendations.

A delay in the implementation of the students' demands which the university administration has already met in principle means continuing the deadlock. The brutal and sad killing of Abrar could take place as the authorities could not ensure security or a fair environment for studies at BUET. The authorities should end the deadlock by meeting the reasonable demands made by the students. Academic activities should not be stopped for a single day at an institution like BUET.

The student politics that snatches the life of a fellow student or creates an environment of terror in the name of student organisations cannot be of any good for a country and its people. The government should think afresh regarding the issue of student politics.

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