Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is one of the most prestigious public universities in Bangladesh. Haven to some of the brightest minds in the engineering field in Bangladesh, it is well known for attracting some of the best talent in the country, and as such is a target for student organizations who try to recruit students in favour of their ideology and way of thinking.
It is a tradition mired in goodwill that members of the BUET branch of Bangladesh Islami Chatro Shibir meet up and exchange greetings and pleasantries with faculty and staff before Eid every year. This year was no different as members and activists of BUET Shibir were distributing cards and exchanging pleasantries among all teachers, staff and employees for the past three days
It was the 9th of October, when the Shibir activists continued their programme with full fervour throughout the evening in their bid to meet up with all staff and employees of BUET. As they neared Nazrul Hall to meet up with people there, the group came under systematic attack from Chatra League cadres who were lurking there. The goons were able to single out Shibir members Bil Maruf Bin Barik and Shafiqul Islam and indiscriminately attack them. In the brutal beating that followed, Bil Maruf’s right hand was broken while Shafiqul Islam managed to escape narrowly. After that the goons held Bil Maruf hostage and handed him over to the police. It was painful to note that the teachers and employees of BUET who were present at the time stood as silent witnesses throughout the ordeal. One would have thought they held some position of authority over students who were supposed to listen to them and respect them. Perhaps it was not their fault because it was obvious that the students who had trusted them were the ones beaten and tortured by the Chatra League. Few would forget the fact that it was this same Chatra League which had faced off students and teachers just a few days back, insulting and harassing many of those who had participated in the recent anti-VC campaign. The misdeeds of this rowdy student organization in BUET include acts such as physically assaulting students and teachers on campus to well documented internal clashes to name a few. The attack on Bil Maruf and his companions was largely kept away from the media, with only a handful of news portals such as banglanews and sheershanews reporting it as vague news of a Shibir supporter being caught and handed over to police custody from the BUET campus.
Sadly however, Lalbagh police echoed their partisan nature when they filed a shocker of a case against the detained Shibir leader. This is a copy of the prepared case report by police. Here they refer to the arrest as being carried out from Azimpur, where they say that the accused was arrested by police after being caught by the general public and given a public beating due to his involvement in vehicle vandalism!
As ridiculous as it may sound, this is the truth in Bangladesh. This is a situation that has not just transpired in the case of innocent meritorious students such as Bil Maruf, but this is also how hundreds if not thousands of opposition members have been shown arrested by police in Bangladesh. This is how police have tried to justify torture in the name of remand.