A Dhaka University student failed to attend a BCL event as he was ill. Then he was forced to stare into a lightbulb

A Dhaka University student has been tortured physically and mentally after he failed to attend a programme, organised by Bangladesh Chhatra League, due to his illness.

Akhtarul Islam, the victim who is a resident of the university’s Bijoy Ekattor Hall and a first-year student of mass communication and journalism, filed a complaint to the dormitory’s provost on Thursday.

Prof Abdul Basir, the provost of the hall, said a three-member panel, led by resident teacher Jahidul Islam, opened an investigation into the incident. 

"This is definitely an unfortunate incident. I went to the hall at 3 am, spoke to the student and tried to help him," he said. 

Akhtar, who resides in the Meghna block of Ekattor Hall, complained that he was tortured by Chhatra League members after not being able to follow their instruction to go to the guestroom at 10 pm Wednesday due to his illness.

Akhtar was forced to “stare into a lightbulb in the room” as punishment. After 15 minutes into the ordeal, Akhter passed out and fell to the ground. He was later taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment.

Akhtar mentioned that he was already under stress over issues involving his father’s stroke a week ago, and his younger brother working as a day labourer to support the family in these difficult times.

Akhtar named a group of students with links to the torture: Kamruzzaman Raju, Saiful Islam, Saiful Islam Rohan, Hridoy Ahmed Kajal, Yamin Islam and Omar Farook Shuvo.

They are the sophomore students of the 2019-20 academic year and known as close aides to Abu Yunus and Rabiul Islam Rana, followers of DU Chhatra League General Secretary Saddam Hossain. Yunus and Rana have their sights set on the posts of president and general secretary of the hall.

The accused students were immediately unavailable for comment.

“They have tortured quite a few students in previous instances. They have emerged as a terror to the students living in Bijoy Ekattor Hall,” a student said, asking not to be named.

Abu Yunus, too, did not respond to calls or mobile text messages.

Rabiul Islam Rana, however, denied all allegations and urged the authorities to ensure the highest punishment to the perpetrators.

“We’ll take official action against those who identify themselves as Chhatra League members and use their identities to misbehave with students,” said DU Chhatra League General Secretary Saddam Hossain.