Dormitory killing highlights campus political rivalries

BANGLADESH

Violent pupil protests have erupted in Bangladesh over the killing of an engineering pupil by members of the ruling social gathering’s pupil organisation, the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL). Several BCL members have been detained in reference to the killing and greater than a dozen different college students, together with BCL members, have been arrested.

Abrar Fahad, 21, a second yr electrical and digital engineering pupil, was crushed to dying inside a dormitory of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) on 7 October. The motive of the killing is unclear. But it has spotlighted usually violent campus rivalries between pupil wings of opposing political events and plenty of are calling on universities to make sure the security of scholars.

The killing has shocked Bangladesh. Although campus violence just isn’t new, the current political state of affairs by which the ruling social gathering got here to energy for a 3rd consecutive time period amid two disputed elections has intensified campus violence.

Some BUET college students declare Abrar was killed for criticising Bangladesh’s current settlement with India permitting the nation to withdraw water from Bangladesh’s Feni River. Abrar posted a Facebook message on this situation a day earlier than he was crushed to dying.

However, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam on Monday stated Abrar was killed as a result of the BCL pupil leaders suspected him of being a member of Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir (BICS), the coed wing of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist social gathering Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

After the killing, a number of of the college’s college students claimed they have been tortured as a result of they have been suspected of being BICS activists. BICS has strongholds on some campuses throughout the nation, however they’re much less seen on campuses within the capital Dhaka.

“Torture in dormitories is a regular occurrence. University authorities know about it, but they do not take action. Many students leave BUET because they cannot tolerate torture,” a BUET graduate at present doing a PhD within the United States informed University World News on situation of anonymity.

Students have documented how they have been being tortured by ruling social gathering pupil leaders, with particulars on an internet site that was shut down on 9 October by authorities authorities with out giving any causes.

Protest rallies

Students have held protest rallies on the engineering college’s campus for the reason that killing and have been joined by college students from different universities. Bangladeshi college students at numerous universities abroad have additionally attended protest rallies.

Ali Riaz, a distinguished professor at Illinois State University within the United States and previously a professor on the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh, stated campus violence in Bangladesh just isn’t new and college authorities ought to shoulder some accountability for the violence.

Political rivalries between pupil teams “have not suddenly become violent. On the contrary, in the past decade, it has become one-sided, as most campuses have been ‘captured’ by supporters of the ruling Awami League,” Riaz stated, including that college authorities could also be complicit as many are affiliated with the Awami League.

He added that harmless college students have been caught up within the violence.

“Students with no political affiliation have become the victims. The brutal killing of Abrar Fahad is a case in point. But, sadly, it is not an exception. Innocent students have been coerced to become the foot soldiers of the student wing of the ruling party,” Riaz informed University World News.

“The overall political situation has accentuated the campus violence – the growing authoritarian tendencies of the ruling party has made that possible.”

Riaz stated harmless college students are sometimes victimised with the data of regulation enforcement companies, and never simply on campuses. “Ruling party activists enjoy unprecedented impunity,” Riaz stated.

Increase in campus violence

Mirza Taslima Sultana, a professor at Jahangirnagar University in Dhaka, informed University World News that systematic political violence has elevated prior to now decade, “especially since this government came to power in 2009”.

The 2014 election, which introduced the social gathering to energy for the second time, was disputed, “although people did not turn out to the voting centres,” she stated.

The general political state of affairs has had an affect on campuses as a result of college pupil political teams are instantly linked with the nationwide political social gathering, she stated.

Sultana stated new college students are bullied on campuses and in dormitories regularly, however nobody takes any motion to avoid wasting susceptible college students.

“New students in both student dormitories and in the academic areas are systematically bullied, beaten and harassed. In the dormitories, the torture is more violent and it happens every night for every new student for at least the first six months. Later these victimised students themselves join the Chhatra League and start to take part in these systematic torture processes,” she added.

Kamal Ahmed, a senior journalist and a commentator on Bangladesh points, stated: “Abrar’s killing shows ruling party activists are not ready to tolerate even dissenting individuals.”

“Until democracy is restored and political reforms are agreed by major forces, I’m afraid nothing will change,” he stated.

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