This was not the first time Abrar Fahad was called to room 2011 of Buet’s Sher-e-Bangla Hall.
Earlier on October 3, the same group of people, led by Buet BCL General Secretary Mehedi Hasan Rasel, summoned Abrar, along with some six to seven other students of the hall, to the room over their Facebook posts, said two students who were there that night.
“They called us to the room and questioned us about some Facebook statuses we posted. At that time, they did not beat us up. They only warned us not to write such things on social media,” one of the students said.
Rasel also threatened to evict them from the hall if they did not stop posting such things on Facebook, they alleged.
The students, however, did not want to name the other BCL leaders.
Talking to this correspondent, several residents of the hall alleged that ragging, evicting students over trivial issues and forcing freshers to join political programmes were not new.
Incidents of torturing students have been frequently occurring in the hall, they said.
Earlier on August 7 last year, some Buet BCL activists, led by Rasel, beat up Daiyan Nafis, from batch-15 of the mechanical engineering department, for taking part in the road safety movement, said Daiyan’s classmates under the condition of anonymity.
Later, the recently removed BCL general secretary Golam Rabbani handed Daiyan over to the Chawk Bazar police station.
Rabbani also called Daiyan’s mechanical circuit box a “sim box” on a Facebook video. He alleged that Daiyan was involved with Chhatra Shibir and used different phone numbers to contact them.
Buet BCL men also beat up Ehtesham Ul Azim, from the electrical and electronic engineering department of batch-15, that same night as he protested the move of handing over Daiyan to police.
Rasel called Ehtesham to room 202 of the hall on October 2, slapped and punched him, and forced him out of the hall, fellow students said.
Both Daiyan and Ehtesham refused to comment on the issue.
Motiur Rahman, another student, alleged that two BCL men Mubashshir Shanto and Mahadi Hasan called him and other residents of room 511 of the Suhrawardy Hall to room 1010 on September 4 because none of them greeted the seniors with a “salam”.
“They asked why [we did not greet them] and later slapped me and another classmate twice as we were whispering while answering their questions. I consulted a doctor later, who told me that my ear had internal bleeding,” Motiur said.
Shanto and Mahadi then called 20 students from batch-18 to the Suhrawardy Hall’s terrace the next day.
One of the 20 students, under the condition of anonymity, said, “They asked me to identify and introduce the seniors who were there. I could identify all but one. Mahadi then asked me to slap the senior I could not identify. As I did not comply, Mahadi slapped me.”
Contacted, Shanto and Mahadi refused to talk about the issue.
TOO AFRAID TO COMPLAIN
In most of the cases, students tortured in the name of “ragging” or beaten up by political leaders fear to speak up or file written complaints with the university administration.
A number of students, wishing anonymity, told The Daily Star that the victims could not muster up the courage to file complaints fearing further harassment. The authorities’ disinterest in punishing the attackers or stopping the ragging culture also plays a role in ensuring everyone’s silence.
“Many students cannot afford to rent a house and are compelled to live in the university dormitories. They do not speak about the ragging culture or the torture incidents fearing eviction by seniors or political leaders,” said a student of batch-17.
He alleged that the authorities only allot seats in the dormitories, but hardly look after the students after that.
The authorities have also done nothing over the years even though the incidents of torture in the name of ragging have increased to an alarming level, he further alleged.
“The authorities only suspended a student of the Ahsan Ullah hall for slapping a fresher. That student still lives in the hall and the student at the receiving end of it [the slap] lives in fear.
“Will anyone now dare to lodge a complaint after seeing such light punishment?” the student asked.