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8 October, 2019 01:00:38 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 October, 2019 11:46:25 AM

BUET student killing sparks mass protests

No one has the right to kill for difference in opinion: Quader
Staff Reporter with Our Correspondent, DU
BUET student killing sparks mass protests

Students from major public universities in the country burst into protests yesterday following the gruesome killing of a student of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Nine activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student body of ruling Awami League, were arrested while a total of 19 sued over the death of Abrar Fahad, 21, a second-year student of BUET’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) Department and a resident of Sher-e-Bangla Hall. The ill-fated BUET student was tortured to death on the campus following a facebook post over recent Feni river water sharing and other deals with India and his suspected link with Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), the student body of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Additional Commissioner Krishnapad Rai confirmed that all nine of the detainees were members of the BCL’s BUET unit committee.

“They are being quizzed,” he said, adding that the law-enforcers were scrutinising the CCTV footage that they seized earlier from BUET.

Police said they detained BCL’s BUET unit General Secretary Mehedi

Hassan Rasel, Vice-President Mustakim Fuad, Assistant General Secretary Ashiqul Islam Bitu, Deputy Office Secretary Mujtaba Rafid, Deputy Social Welfare Secretary Ifti Mosharraf Shokal, Deputy Law Secretary Amit Shaha, Sports Secretary Sefayetul Islam Jion, Information and Research Secretary Anik Sarker and Library Affairs Secretary Ishtiaq Munshi.

A case was also filed in connection with the killing afterwards against 19 BUET students, including the BCL general secretary, with the Chawkbazar Police Station.

Confirming the matter, Mohammad Sohrab Hossain, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Chawkbazar Police Station, said Abrar's father Barkat Ullah filed a murder case against those 19 with the Chawkbazar police station yesterday evening.

“The list of 19 includes all nine detainees,” the OC said. In another development, the BUET authorities filed a general diary (GD) with the police station, said a press release signed by university Acting Registrar Professor Dr Md Saidur Rahman.

A probe body has also been formed in this regard, the release added.

Meanwhile, the doctors at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) following an autopsy said, Abrar Fahad died of “internal bleeding and excessive pain” as he was badly beaten up by blunt objects like cricket stumps or bamboo sticks.

He had enough “extensive bruises” on his hands, legs and back to cause death, Sohel Mahmud, Head of Forensic Department of the DMCH told the journalists.

Meanwhile, Abrar’s family members brushed aside his Shibir link and claimed that the deceased was a meritorious student of the BUET having no affiliation with politics.

According to the hall students, a group of students called Abrar around 8pm on Sunday to Room No. 2011 and beat him indiscriminately with cricket stumps bringing allegation of Shibir link against him.

Dr Masuk Elahi, a physician of the university, said, "I rushed to the hall after getting informed by students about the incident and found Abrar's body lying on the ground. Several injury marks were found on his body."

Deputy Commissioner of police (Lalbagh zone) Kamal Hossain said, "Abrar's body was taken to the DMCH morgue for autopsy. Necessary steps would be taken after investigation."

Sher-e-Bangla Hall Provost Professor Zafor Iqbal said he had not yet received any official complaint regarding the issue. He, however, assured all kinds of assistance to the police for investigation.

Ashikul Islam Bitu, Joint Secretary of the BUET unit BCL, said, “We called Abrar to the room to interrogate him about his alleged involvement with Shibir and found evidence after checking his Facebook account and messenger.

“I left the room after a while. Later, I heard that his body was found on the staircase. BUET Chhatra League leaders Muztoba Rafid, Ifty Mosharaf Shokal and Amit Saha were present during the interrogation,” the BCL leader added.

On September 30 and October 5, Abrar had posts on his personal Facebook account, criticising India-Bangladesh deals and relations.

In his last Facebook post, he expressed his critical views over Bangladesh’s recent agreements with India that will allow the neighbouring country to withdraw water from Feni river.

On October 5, the day when Bangladesh and India signed several agreements including the one allowing India to withdraw 1.82 cusec water from Feni river, the deceased posted on Facebook stating three historical instances in which Bangladesh failed to have any significant achievements in its favour like using port facilities, water sharing and export of energy resources from its next-door neighbour.

Earlier in a separate post published on September 30, Abrar had his critical views regarding Bangladesh's decision of exporting hilsha to India's West Bengal.

Specialist in criminal law and Dhaka University Professor Dr Muhammad Mahbubur Rahman said, “None can check social media accounts of another person. A university student can never interrogate another student. A person, unless he has committed an offence, can never be detained or handed over to police simply because he is suspected to be a member/activist of any political outfit. These are the minimum standards of civilisation.”

Protests erupt

Following the murder of Abrar, students of BUET and the universities of Dhaka, Rajshahi, Jahangirnagar and Islamic University, Kushtia staged protests demanding punishment of the killers.

At DU, the students led by DUCSU Vice-President Nurul Haque Nur took position at the altar of Raju Sculpture carrying banners and chanting slogans demanding justice for Abrar.

Students of BUET and DU also brought out procession on their respective campuses on hearing the news of Abrar’s death.

At RU, students staged an hour-long demonstration in front of the university’s main gate, blocking Dhaka-Rajshahi highway starting from 1:30pm.

At JU, students formed a human chain and staged demonstration raising voice against Abrar’s killing.

The aggrieved students of Jagannath University also brought out a torch procession last night in protest against the killing of Abrar.

Quader denounces killing

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader while talking to the reporters about the death of Abrar said no one has the right to kill anyone due to differences of opinions.

“So, the law would take its own course (with regard to Abrar’s death). Investigation is on. Legal action will be taken against those who will be found responsible during investigation,” he said, replying to a query from reporters over the incident.

The minister was talking to the reporters on “contemporary issues” at his Secretariat office.

He said that he has already talked to the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

“I gave him suggestion that he can talk to the Prime Minster regarding the issue if he wants to,” Quader said.

Our correspondent from Kushtia adds: a group of Islamic University (IU), Kushtia students put up a barricade on Kushtia-Khulna highway in front of the main gate of the varsity yesterday morning to raise voice against Abrar's murder, who hailed from Kushtia.

Abrar is the son of Barkatullah, who is based on the PTI Road in the town.

The protesting students blocked the Kushtia-Khulna highway from 9am to 5pm demanding the trial of the killers.

The students gathered on the premises of Zia Hall in the afternoon and also brought out a procession demanding immediate arrest of and exemplary punishment to the killers.

It caused intense traffic congestion on both sides of the road following the protest rally.

BUET student Abrar left behind his parents and younger brother to mourn his death.




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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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