BCL leader attack on quota reformists: 'Gave up hope for life'
12:00 AM, July 05, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:13 AM, July 05, 2018

'Gave up hope for life'

Toriqul recounts the BCL attack on him; doctors say both bones of his right leg broken

With two bones of his right leg broken, eight stitches on his head and bruises all over the body, Toriqul Islam still lies in his hospital bed.

"I begged them not to beat me, but no one cared. Everyone who had a stick kept beating me. For a moment, I gave up hope for life," he told The Daily Star yesterday.

He spoke in whispers and with frequent pauses, as speaking any louder sends a searing pain through his body.

A master's student at Rajshahi University and joint convenor of the quota reform movement there, Toriqul was beaten badly by several Chhatra League men on Monday afternoon in front of the university's main gate.

One of the BCL men, Abdullah Al Mamun, pounded his back and legs with a hammer as seen in photos and footage published in the media.

Police and some journalists took him to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital where doctors plastered his broken leg up to his thigh. He has been kept under observation.

MAK Shamsuddin, head of orthopaedic surgery department of the hospital, said it would take at least three months for the broken bones to heal.

"We will keep the plaster for four weeks. He is having pain all over his body and needs complete rest," he told this newspaper.

Mamun, an assistant secretary of RU unit BCL, hung up the phone when The Daily Star sought his comment last night.

Second among three siblings, Toriqul, 24, recounted the brutal attack to The Daily Star lying in his hospital bed yesterday. 

He was going to the campus for bringing out a prescheduled procession with national flags around 4:00pm. But he saw the main gate was closed. In front of the gate, there was a crowd, surrounded by police.

"I thought they were general students and quota reformists and went ahead. In fact, they were Chhatra League leaders and activists who started chasing us," he said, still looking frightened. 

So Toriqul, from Gaibandha, started running in panic but got caught soon. The attackers surrounded him and started slapping, punching and kicking indiscriminately. Then someone hit his head and other parts of the body with bamboo poles. Then another. Then another. He cannot recall how many. 

"I collapsed…. I cried, pleaded them not to beat me and tried to save myself. But I could not stand up,” he said.

Then someone started hitting his right leg and back with something heavy.

"It did not feel like a stick. It might be a rod or something heavy, I thought. I could not bear the first strike; I screamed. I felt my leg got broken after the second strike. I could not bear the pain.”

But the attackers kept on beating.

The Daily Star has photographs and videos of the incident.

The X-ray plate shows both the bones of his right leg have been fractured.

On-duty police did nothing to stop the attackers when they chased the students, he alleged. "If the police intervened right then, they [the attackers] could not beat me.”

About joining the quota reform movement, he said, "I have seen how my seniors worked hard for government jobs. But I also saw their agonies when they failed to get government jobs despite facing the BCS viva voce more than once, just because of the quota system.

"I don't hope for a government job for myself. But I don't want the future generations to face the discrimination due to the quota system. That's why I joined the movement," Toriqul said.

About his future plan, he said, "Let's see what happens. I have to find a job after completing my studies. Both my parents are ill; I need to take care of them."

At this stage, two policemen -- Constable Nazmul and Habilder Hasinur -- entered the room and asked The Daily Star reporter to stop the interview with Toriqul and leave the room right away.

They also claimed that Toriqul was in police custody and that no one was allowed to talk to him without the authorities' permission.

Contacted, Matihar Police Station Officer-in-Charge Shahadat Hossain Khan said Toriqul was not in police custody.

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