Miscreants severed the ankle of a Bangladesh Chhatra League leader and cut tendons of another in a manifestation of sheer brutality on Rajshahi University campus yesterday.
The victims -- Abdullah Al Masud and Tagar Mohammad Saleh -- are second-year students of history and folklore departments and residents of Madar Bux Hall.
Masud is assistant secretary and Saleh secretary for student scholarship affairs of the RU unit BCL, pro-Awami League student body.
The BCL and police have blamed Islami Chhatra Shibir, student front of the Jamaat-e-Islami, for the attack. Shibir, however, denies the charges.
The injured were whisked off to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) and later shifted to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in the capital for surgery.
Saleh said they were going to campus by a rickshaw from their dormitory around 8:15am to attend classes.
As soon as they had reached in front of Ziaur Rahman Hall, 10-12 unidentified youths waylaid them, he told The Daily Star at the NICVD.
"As we tried to run away, they caught Masud first and then me. They started hacking us indiscriminately with machetes. One of them also shot three times at me but I luckily escaped," he said.
Saleh said he had never seen the attackers on the campus before. "Probably, they are Shibir cadres and came from elsewhere."
He added that he and Masud had beaten up Madar Bux Hall unit Shibir president Waliullah Mahmud on Sunday and handed him over to police.
"The Shibir president had threatened us with dire consequences," he said, adding that they were active against Shibir activities on the campus.
On hearing their screams, on-duty police at Ziaur Rahman Hall rescued the victims and rushed them to the RMCH.
The assailants completely severed Masud's right ankle and cut the tendons of his left leg. The attackers also cut tendons of both hands and legs of Saleh.
Both the BCL men were seen bandaged almost all over their bodies.
Nirmal Kanti Dey, resident surgeon of the NICVD, said, "The victims sustained hack injuries in different parts of their bodies."
They were sent to the National Institute of Traumatology and Rehabilitation (Nitor) for better treatment, he added.
Alamgir Hossain, officer-in-charge of Motihar Police Station in Rajshahi, said Shibir activists had carried out the attack to "establish supremacy on the campus".
Mizanur Rahman Rana, president of RU BCL, told The Daily Star that Shibir men had attacked the two for they were "active against Shibir's conspiracy".
Contacted, Shoyeb Shahriar, organising secretary of Shibir's RU unit, claimed the attack was the outcome of the BCL's internal feuds.
Police conducted several raids on private messes at Dharampur, Mirzapur and Binodpur areas near the university and detained 15 Shibir men in connection with the attack, the Motihar OC said.
Leaders and activists of the RU unit BCL brought out a procession on the campus demanding immediate arrest of the attackers and ban on Shibir.
RU Proctor Prof Tarikul Hasan told The Daily Star that additional police force was deployed on the campus following the incident.
At least 13 leaders and activists of the RU BCL fell victim to the brutal acts of cutting tendons in last five years and at least seven of them suffered permanent physical impairment.