Teachers and students of Dhaka University on Sunday observed ‘Black Day’ to mark the crackdown on students and teachers of the university by security forces during the then military-backed caretaker government regime in August, 2007.
To commemorate the day, teachers, officials and staffs of the university wore black badges and a virtual discussion was also held around 11:00am on Sunday, 23 August. Vice-chancellor Professor Akhtaruzzaman presided over the function.
Participants in the virtual discussion said that the then undemocratic government was responsible for the condemnable, unprecedented and inhuman attack on the teachers and students of the university.
Praising the then activities of DU teachers and students, Professor Akhtaruzzaman said the political unrest during the military-backed interim government was an assault on the spirit of liberation war and democratic value.
Urging everyone to remain alert, he added that anti-liberation elements and undemocratic forces had always chosen this month (August) to unleash attacks on the spirit of the country and for materializing their evil dreams.
Among others DU pro-vice-chancellor (Administration) Prof Muhammad Samad, pro-vc (academic) Prof ASM Maksud Kamal, University Grants Commission Professor, also a then tortured teacher, Anwar Hossain, DU Teachers’ Association Acting President Lutfor Rahman and General Secretary Professor Nizamul Haque Bhuiyan also attended the discussion.
On August 20, 2007, students of the university were engaged in a heated argument with some members of the army following a football match, which escalated to the students being physically assaulted. This triggered a widespread agitation by both teachers and students.
On the night of August 23, 2007, the military arrested teachers including two professors Anwar Hossain and Harun-or-Rashid and eight students of the university and allegedly tortured them.
Later, then DUTA president Sadrul Amin and another faculty member Neem Chandra Bhowmick and a number of students had to surrender following the incident.
The incident sparked clashes between police and students, spreading from Dhaka University to all other educational institutions in the country. A rickshaw-puller was killed in Rajshahi and several hundred injured during the clashes as law enforcers opened fire in Rajshahi University area.
A total of 59 cases were filed against 84,000 unnamed students on charges of their involvement in the violence. Several teachers of Dhaka and Rajshahi University were also arrested and placed on remand on charges of instigating the violence.
After spending five months in prison, four Dhaka University teachers were released after being granted presidential clemency on January 22, 2008. Eight DU students were also released gradually. The then government also withdrew a number of cases against the teachers and students.
From then onwards, Dhaka University observes August 23 as ‘Black Day’ every year.