We are appalled at yet another incident of torture of four students by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists on the premise of Dhaka University on January 21. Labelling the four students as “shibir activists,” the BCL members tortured them for three hours—with hammers, wires and cricket stumps—before handing them over to the police. According to one of the students beaten up that night, although the house tutor of the hall came to the spot during the torture, he did not do anything to stop the BCL members. What is more, the BCL members handed over the four students to the police in the presence of a team of officials from the DU proctor’s office.
The repeated violence by BCL members on the general students of DU is extremely worrying, and we are particularly concerned about two things. First, the trend that BCL has established—to give a label to an individual or group and then torture them—mostly to establish their supremacy in the residential halls. Second, the failure of the hall administrations to play their due role and save the students from being tortured.
It has now become almost a norm for the BCL to justify violence on general students by giving them a label. The BCL members who tortured Buet student Abrar Fahad to death had labelled him as a shibir activist, without any justification or proof.
The role of the proctor’s office was also shameful. We do not expect the proctor’s office to be silent spectators when torture is taking place on their watch.
The university administration as well as the hall authorities should take stern action against the BCL members for torturing the four students of Zahurul Haq hall. BCL’s continuous violence on campus has already done enough damage to the academic environment of the university and to ordinary students’ lives. We also demand that the authorities concerned be questioned why they failed to take adequate action to protect the students on their watch. How many more students need to bleed before we end the culture of impunity enjoyed by the BCL on public university campuses?