The incident of beating four resident students of Dhaka University’s (DU) Shahid Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists, suspecting their involvement with the politics of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir reminds us of the murder of BUET student Abrar Fahad a few months ago.
Abrar was killed after hours of torture in October 2019 by some fellow students and BCL leaders of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET).
It is the authorities who are responsible to ensure safety and security of all the students on campus. The indifference of the university authorities in the incident of Zahurul Haque Hall is not only reprehensible, but also inexcusable.
According to the Prothom Alo report, several BCL activists beat students with hammers and electric wires from 11:00pm to 2:00am in the hall's guest room on Tuesday. Later, the assaulted students were handed over to the Shahbagh police station through the university administration and proctorial body. They were released around 1:30pm on Wednesday as the police did not find any evidence of the allegations brought against them.
The four students are Sanwar Hossain, a 3rd year student of the political science department, Md Mukim Chowdhury, a 2nd year student of the tourism and hospitality management department, Minhaz Uddin, a 2nd year student of Islamic history and culture, and Afsar Uddin, a 2nd year student of the Arabic department.
As per the decision of DUCSU and other student organisations, religion-based politics are officially banned at Dhaka University. The university authorities can take legal action against those four students if they violated the law. The university authorities earlier expelled 67 students on various charges including leaking question papers of the admission test and fraudulence.
Instead, the university authorities,proving themselves as allies of BCL, handed over the four students to the police. They took the side of the attackers who are criminals in the eyes the law. The university authorities may have lost their conscience. Surely no one can be tortured in such a way. Proctor professor AKM Golam Rabbani's statement in this regard is also ridiculous. Instead of handing over the four students to police station, the university administration should have brought the attackers to book. No one has the right to take the law into their own hands.
Education institutions run on certain rules and regulations. But recent incidents in Dhaka University suggest there is no rule of law there. The whims of Chhatra League determines everything. During the DUCSU polls, all the student bodies, including the BCL, pledged to stop torturing general students in the name of ‘guest room culture’. But the culture is remains rampant still after 11 months of the elections. According the DUCSU vice president, four students of Zahurul Haque Hall were not beaten for their involvement with Chhatra Shibir politics. Rather they were beaten up for not displaying 'respect' to the BCL leaders. Such a practice is not warranted at all in an educational institution.
The university authorities have formed a probe body to investigate into the matter. We hope the truth will be unveiled through fair investigation and action will be taken against the perpetrators. The consequences of protecting perpetrators in the name of investigation will never bode well.