Words are not enough to express our shock and horror at the incident of rape that happened last Friday in the hostel of Sylhet's MC college. Reportedly, on Friday night, six Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists forced a married couple visiting the college campus to the hostel and gang-raped the wife while keeping the husband tied with a rope.
The questions are, how could such a horrible crime happen inside a college hostel? Where were the hostel superintendent and the administration when the incident happened? What emboldened the BCL activists to rape the woman without fearing any repercussions? The answers to these questions, sadly, are also very clear. Although all the accused, except for one, are the former students of the college, they, in fact, have been controlling the hostel for years. And the fact that the prime accused Saifur Rahman used to live in a bungalow designated for the hostel superintendent makes it clear that the hostel superintendent remains only in name but has no control over the institution.
What is the source of power of these BCL men? Reportedly, the accused have backings from influential ruling party leaders. Talking to several present and former BCL activists of the college, our reporter came to know that all the accused are followers of former youth and sports affairs secretary of Sylhet district Awami League. The college authorities are helpless when it comes to dealing with them. There were previous allegations of arson against the BCL activists for which they were never punished, and that only emboldened them to be more ferocious. When police raided the bungalow—where the prime accused used to live—after the incident, they found a pistol, four sharp weapons and a lot of iron rods there.
We are concerned at the way the BCL members have been carrying out all kinds of atrocious activities at educational institutions across the country, including torturing and harassing students, stalking, assaulting and raping women, being involved in extortion, tender grabbing and occupation of hostel, etc., under the shelter of powerful ruling party leaders. The environment of fear that has been created by them in our public university and college campuses prevent the general students or even the administrations to speak up against their crimes. The rape in Sylhet's MC college hostel is just an example of what happens when crimes go unpunished. The principal of the college also pointed out this fact in an interview with The Daily Star yesterday.
We have learnt that police have arrested two accused in the case, including the prime suspect Saifur Rahman. We urge them to immediately arrest all the accused in the case and bring them to justice. The college authorities also cannot avoid their responsibility; they should take prompt action against the accused after the committee submits its report. The rapists must face justice no matter how powerful they are.