The horrific murder of Abrar Fahad has galvanised general students of Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (Buet) into action. In an unprecedented move, Buet students took an oath on October 16, in the presence of the Vice Chancellor, deans of different faculties and hall provosts, to stand united in the face of terrorism and communalism. Most students want a peaceful atmosphere on campus to pursue their studies and this unusual event demonstrates their intention all too plainly. The minute’s silence observed should ring loudly in the ears of university authorities to pay heed to the voice of ordinary students.
It now falls upon the administration to take a strong stance against any and every illegal activity on campus, including ragging and torture. Students come to this elite educational institution to not only learn but also mingle in a secure environment that tolerates frank expression in a free and unfettered atmosphere. We should not forget that students have always raised their voice for democracy and against autocracy. At every crucial juncture of our history, whether it was against Pakistani oppression or during the war of liberation, students have always been at the forefront of just movements. This time they have raised their voices against all kinds of violence and immoderation. This is so because they speak the truth when there is a free and unfettered environment. The truth cannot be bulldozed or suppressed no matter what the circumstances are ultimately. It is our hope that the university administration will put the welfare of its students before and above all other external pressures. The Abrar murder should act as a cue for other university authorities to begin the depoliticisation process so that campuses can once again be seats of learning and not schools of violence.