In a fictitious claim, a police officer has said that Rajshahi University student Toriqul Islam, also a quota movement leader, was hurt in a “mere scuffle” with some members of the public.
Video footage and photos published in the media clearly show a group of Chhatra League men beating Toriqul, a master's student at the RU, with sticks, bamboo poles, a dagger and a hammer, breaking his right leg.
The Daily Star has been able to identify 11 of the attackers, 10 of them leaders and activists of the BCL, a pro-Awami League student organisation.
"The incident did not actually happen that way. A scuffle broke out between some members of the public and the 'so-called students' on the street and he [Toriqul] got hurt. Our police officers took him to hospital,"
Shahadat Hossain, officer-in-charge of Motihar Police Station, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He also claimed he was not aware of any photos and videos of the brutal attack on July 2 in front of the RU campus. Several policemen, some of whom later took Toriqul to hospital, were nearby during the incident.
A series of photos and videos of the attack went viral on the social media and sparked a huge criticism over the inaction of the police and the university administration.
The Daily Star's RU correspondent filmed the incident.
With his right leg plastered up to his thigh, eight stitches on his head and bruises all over the body, Toriqul was brought to Dhaka for treatment yesterday.
Earlier, his family alleged the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, where he was initially taken for treatment, forced him to leave the hospital, a claim the hospital authorities denied.
Asked if police took any action against the attackers, the OC said they didn't because the victim didn't file any complaint.
Contacted, RU Proctor Lutfor Rahman said they took no action as the incident happened outside the campus and that law enforcers would look into the matter.
When pointed out that both the attackers and the victim were RU students, he said, “Law enforcers were there. They took the injured students to hospital and their treatment took place under their supervision. Police would look into it.”
Asked if they would take action against the attackers who are seen in photos and videos, the proctor said they would look into the matter if anyone filed a written complaint.
Earlier on Friday, RU Vice Chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan described the quota reform movement as an “anti-government movement with a motive to carry out sabotage”.
"Although many of us are calling it an anti-quota movement or quota reform movement, it is actually an anti-government movement,” he told the 65th founding anniversary programme of the RU on the campus.
He also labelled the students demanding quota reform as “left-leaning Shibir activists,” something quota reformists vehemently denied.
At present, 56 percent of government jobs are reserved for candidates under various quotas. Of the 56 percent, 30 percent are kept for freedom fighters' children and grandchildren, 10 percent for women, 10 percent for people of underdeveloped districts, five percent for members of indigenous communities and one percent for the physically challenged.
The quota reform movement, waged by students of various universities, want a logical reform of the quota system.
In the wake of their demand, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament in April that the system would be abolished altogether.
In the footage of the attack, Abdullah Al Mamun, an assistant secretary of the RU BCL unit, was seen hitting Toriqul with a hammer on his right leg and then on his waist.
Asked, Mamun yesterday said, “I don't want to speak about it.”
As Toriqul was screaming, Mamun along with Romizul Islam Rimu, vice president of RU BCL, and Latiful Kabir Manik, an activist of Muktijoddha Santan Command, kept kicking him in the neck and back.
Toriqul tried to cover his head with his hands, but BCL activist John Smith, Organising Secretary Mehedi Hasan Mishu and Rimu went forward and beat him with sticks. Manik brought out a dagger from a badminton cover he was carrying with him and hit Toriqul with the dagger's blunt part.
The strikes with hammer and bamboo sticks continued.
Another video shows Soumitra Karmakar Rana, assistant secretary for programme and planning of RU BCL, beating Toriqul with a stick.
Photographs also show Organising Secretary Hasan Labon and four other vice presidents of the BCL unit -- Ahmed Sajib, Gufran Gazi, Shovon Kaiser and Mizanur Rahman Sinha -- hitting him with sticks.
Contacted, BCL General Secretary of RU unit Faisal Ahmed Runu said, “In the name of quota Reform movement, some Students are trying to create violence on the campus.”
He also claimed Jamaat-Shibir and BNP men were encouraging the students. “It's our duty to resist them, and that's what we did.”
Talking to a private television yesterday, Mamun claimed the quota reformists went to attack them.
“When they came to attack us, we chased them. Of them one fell down and every one of us attacked him…. just this.”
Asked about his mental state, he said he was just fine.
“Many journalists called me and wanted to know whether I fled the campus. I didn't. I am on the campus and there is no psychological pressure on me,” he said, with a smirk and a shrug.
Asked if law enforcers, the university administration or the BCL spoke to him about the attack, he said, “No…. No one has told me anything.”