Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Stories of BCL torture at BUET coming out after Abrar murder

  • Liton Haider and Masum Billah, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-10-10 03:27:39 BdST

bdnews24

Torture of dissidents or ragging of freshers by Bangladesh Chhatra League activists going unheeded is not quite uncommon in BUET where student Abrar Fahad has been murdered.

The stories are coming out thick and fast after the second-year electrical and electronic engineering student was bludgeoned to death allegedly by BCL adherents on Sunday night.       

Students said such incidents of torture of dissidents by labelling them as Islami Chhatra Shibir activists and violent ragging of freshers often occur in the university’s residential halls.

A webpage opened by the computer science and engineering department on Mar 31, 2017 received 166 complaints, including ragging, until Oct 9 this year.

The students allege the authorities did not take any step to stop a recurrence of such incidents even after being told about these occurrences.

Helplessness in putting an end to the violent torture by the ruling party student affiliate was clear in BUET Directorate of Students’ Welfare Director Professor Mizanur Rahman’s voice when the students bombarded him with questions on Wednesday.

Prof Mizanur, whose office looks after law and order on the campus, said: “We try, but can’t do it. On many occasions even the information don’t reach me.”

Asked why, then, he was not stepping down by taking responsibility for the failure, he said he was ready to do so.

“But if we leave in this way, no teacher will agree to take over,” he argued. 

Six students revealed to bdnews24.com how they had been tortured. They sought anonymity for the sake of safety.

Wednesday and Thursday nights come to freshers like nightmares as the seniors pick these days for ragging, considering that Thursday and Friday are weekly holidays.

The tortures are conducted at some specific rooms and on the roof.

The BCL leaders and activists mostly use cricket stumps to thrash their targets.

One of the victims said he was slapped by BCL leaders on the roof for wearing half-pants and on the following night, he was beaten with stumps for “long hair”. 

Another victim said he was slapped by 10 to 12 BCL activists led by Abrar murder accused Anik Sarker at room No. 2011, where Abrar was tortured to death.

“I was slapped nonstop 20 to 25 times,” he said.

Everyone thought Abrar would be ragged when he was called to the room, the student said. “But no-one thought the incident will get so bad.”

Another student described the Abrar incident as different from one of ragging.

“Usually the seniors rag the newly admitted students. But Abrar was blamed for being a Shibir operative and called to the room. When someone is blamed for being Shibir, seniors and juniors together beat him,” the student said.   

The BCL men tortured Abrar reportedly over a Facebook post protesting against a recent deal between Bangladesh and India.

BCL leader Soumitra Lahiri was expelled from the Ahsanullah Hall in September after damaging a student’s hearing organs by slapping him.

Students allege Soumitra “boldly” stayed in the hall using his political influence despite the expulsion.

He is the only example of someone who has been punished for ragging, according to the students.

Anti-ragging banners were seen in the halls. Officials said these were hung around two months ago.

BUET unit  BCL President Jamius Sunny claimed his organisation always acts to put an end to torture in the name of ragging.

The unit’s General Secretary Mehedi Hasan Russell and Organising Secretary Mehedy Hasan Robin are among 13 students arrested on charges of killing Abrar.

166 COMPLAINTS OF TORTURE IN TWO AND A HALF YEARS

BUET’s CSE department launched the webpage ‘uReporter’ for research on people of the Third World to speak out anonymously after being subjected to any kind of torture or suppression, Associate  Professor ABM Alim Al Islam told bdnews24.com.

The first post it received was from a BUET student who had been called up by seniors and forced to stand up for an hour at midnight.

The project is still limited to BUET students, according to Prof Alim.

Department head Prof Md Mostafa Akbar sent the complaints to the DSW a few months ago but could not say whether the authorities acted on them.

In one of the last complaints made on Wednesday, a student of Abrar’s hall alleged those of his batch were beaten up for not joining a political meeting and one of them had his hand broken in the assault.

The other posts were about similar tortures and violent ragging.

The webpage became unavailable in Bangladesh from Wednesday midnight.