DU protest against torture continues

For the second consecutive day, agitating students of Dhaka University on Thursday continued protesting the torture of four students by Chhatra League leaders at Zahurul Haque Hall on Wednesday night suspecting them to be Shibir activists. Hundreds of DU students brought out a procession on the campus demanding immediate exemplary punishment of the attackers. The protesting students also placed a 4-point demand, including resignation of DU proctor, legal seat allotment from first year in the dormitories, and assurance of a democratic and safe campus.

Anti- terrorism Students Unity- a platform of Twelve progressive students’organizations, brought out a procession yesterday from anti-terrorism Raju Sculpture of the campus against BCL terror in different educational institutions in the country. Students of Dhaka University’s tourism and hospitality management department also brought out a different procession protesting the torture incident. Dhaka University Central Students Union (DUCSU) vice President Nurul Haque Nur urged students to resist Chhatra League’s ongoing terror at campuses. “BCL leaders tortured students mercilessly just suspecting them to be Shibir activists.

 “We demand a safe campus, but BCL is the main barrier. We need to resist them to ensure safe and education-friendly atmosphere at educational institutions,” he said while talking at the demonstration before the procession. The VP also claimed that ‘Probe committees’ do nothing to bring facts to light. “when a torture incident took place, they (Authorities) completed their responsibilities only by forming a probe committee, but the report fails to see light,” he said.

Moreover, one of the victims, and a second-year student of tourism and hospitality management has been observing a sit-in protest at Raju sculpture since Wednesday demanding trial of the attackers. “I was never involved with Chhatra Shibir. The Chhatra League men intentionally tortured us. They have no right to torture students of the university,” Mukim said.

“I want expulsion of those who assaulted us. I will continue my protest until my demands are met,” he added. Talking to reporters, Mukim said there was still no action from the authorities. “I want justice and expulsion of those who tortured me,” he said. Mukim, told Bangladesh Post that Vice-President Anwar of Chhatra League's Shaheed Sergeant ZahurulHaq Hall unit summoned him to the hall’s guest room over phone.

“Upon reaching there, I saw [Shaheed Sergeant ZahurulHaq] Hall Union Vice- President (VP) Saifullah Abbasi Ananta, general secretary Toufikul Islam, hall unit Chhatra League Joint Secretary Amir Hamja, and Vice President Anwar Hossain there,” he said. “At one stage, Amir Hamja started to punch and kick me labelling me a Shibir activist and continued to show me the screenshots,” he said “As I denied this, hall union VP Abbasi started to beat me with a hammer,” he added.

“At around 1230 am they took me to the hall’s terrace and former Chhatra League central unit member Mahfuzur Rahman Emon, Amir Hamja, Abbasi, and hall unit Chhatra League's Vice-President Kamal Uddin Rana, beat us with cable TV wire and a [cricket] stump,” he said.

Chhatra League and hall union leaders struck the two in their left knees and hands, alleged Mukim. “Later, at around 130 am they took me to the guest room again and I saw that Minhaz Uddin and Afsar Uddin were in the guest room and they were beaten again in front of Badhon’s office,” claimed Mukim.

“The leaders continued to beat me and Sanowar and started beating Minhaz and Afsar in the same way.” Apart from Mukim, Chhatra League men on Tuesday night assaulted three other DU students at Shaheed Sergeant Zahurul Haque Hall suspecting them of being involved with the politics of Islami ChhatraShibir.

They were beaten up repeatedly at different places in Shaheed Sergeant Zahurul Haq Hall, including the guest room, the main building's rooftop and the hall union office, from around 12 midnight to 2am, witnesses said. Zahurul Haq Hall BCL expired unit’ vice president Anwar Hossain, joint secretary Amir Hamza, Hall Sangsad’ VP Saifullah Abbasi led the attack using cricket stumps and sticks, eyewitnesses said.

The event harks back to the killing of Buet student Abrar Fahad by BCL activists at a dorm on October 7 last year. The BCL activists labelled him as a Shibir man before torturing him to death. Injured four students are Mukim Chowdhury of Tourism and Hospitality department, Sanwar Hossain of political Science department, Minhaj Uddin of Islamic History department, and Afsar Uddin of Arabic department.

Later, the victims were handed over to Shahbagh police station with the help of hall authorities at around 2am. Police took Mukim and Sanwar to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) for treatment and later brought them back to custody. The four victims were released from the police station around 120pm on Wednesday.

Regarding the incident at the DU hall, Al-Nahean Khan Joy said he was “informed about the development.” I am unaware of the assault though. Physical assault is not acceptable in any situation, he told reporters. DU Proctor AKM Golam Rabbani claimed that the students were not tortured. They will be released if no ‘suspicious things’ are found, he said on Wednesday afternoon.

Contacted, DU BCL General Secretary Saddam Hussain said, if any student was found to be involved in fundamentalist activities, they should face legal action. Meanwhile, a three-member probe body, headed by senior house tutor Prof Muhammad Jahidul Islam, was formed last night to investigate the incident, Provost Delwar Hossain said.

The committee was asked to submit its report in seven working days, he added. Later, Shahbagh police OC Abul Hasan informed reporters that police released the injured students. He refused to comment about their involvement with Shibir. In November last year, Rabbi Ahmed, a BCL activist of DU Bijoy Ekattor Hall, beat up Rana Akondo, a freshman of the hall, with a cricket stump after the latter failed to show up at a BCL event. In February 2018, BCL men of DU Salimullah hall beat up Ehsan Rafiq, a resident of the hall, labelling him as a Shibir man.