Protests continued into the third consecutive day on Wednesday demanding justice for the murder of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology student Abrar Fahad Rabbi.
Abrar Fahad died after a long interrogation and torture by a group of Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders of their dormitory on Monday over his critical views on social media over India-Bangladesh relationship.
BUET alumni joined the protest alongside the students and teachers and rallied in demand of congenial learning environment.
As the protests blazed on, the university authorities were still undecided about whether they would hold the upcoming admission test scheduled on Friday for 2019-2020 session.
The 21-year-old Abrar Fahad Rabbi, a second-year student of department of electrical and electronic engineering at BUET, was beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders at the university’s Sher-e-Bangla Hall on early Monday.
The aggrieved students of BUET on Wednesday continued protest demanding capital punishment of the killers, rustication of all students involved in the murder and a complete ban on organisation-based politics on the campus within October 15.
They also demanded holding the trial at a Speedy Trial Tribunal, stopping ‘rag culture’ in the campus, and bearing the trial-related cost of the case by the BUET.
They placed a fresh 10-point demand on Wednesday following a silent procession on the campus.
The students also declared suspension of all academic activities, including examinations and the October 14 admission tests, until the charge sheet in the murder case was submitted.
However, the protesters said the university authorities will have to give the students a written statement stating that their demands will be met.
Sher-e-Bangla Hall provost Jafar Iqbal Khan of the university submitted his resignation on Wednesday amid protests.
BUET Teachers’ Association president AKM Masud told students after a teachers’ meeting on Wednesday afternoon spoke to the students and was also critical of the vice-chancellor Saiful Islam. AKM Masud said that the vice-cencellor was incapable of running the university professionally.
In another meeting with the students in the BUET campus, the university student welfare director Mizanur Rahman said they wanted to stop politics as the police officials maintained connection with the student leaders and visited dormitories without the knowledge of the university authorities.
BUET Alumni Association and BUET Teachers Association on Wednesday also separately demanded resignation of the vice-chancellor and an overhauling of the administration at the earliest.
Expressing solidarity with the protesting students, BUET Alumni Association president professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury made the demand after a protest rally at the campus and also demanded punishment of those who failed to curb killing on the campus.
In the evening, BUET students also held a candlelight vigil in the campus.
Progressive Students Alliance, a platform of left student wings, held a rally on Wednesday and their procession was thwarted by the police while they attempted to lay siege to the home ministry in the capital demanding justice for Abrar.
Earlier, leaders and activists of the platform brought out a protest rally from the Dhaka University campus which paraded through BUET campus and faced obstruction by police near the secretariat.
Students of Dhaka University also brought out a protest rally led by Dhaka University Central Students’ Union vice-president Nurul Huq Nur, with black flag in hands which also paraded through Dhaka University and BUET campus.
Bangladesh Chhatra Federation also held a protest rally in front of the DUCSU building demanding justice for Abrar.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party backed Jatiotabadi Chhatra Dal and Dhaka University white panel teachers also staged demonstration at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla of the university demanding justice for Abrar.
Under the banner ‘Teachers, Guardians against Repression’, a group of progressive teachers also held a protest rally at the base of Raju memorial sculpture of the university.
Citing Abrar’s killing, central Chhatra League acting general secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee on Wednesday said that they would not take the responsibility for anyone’s personal vendetta and claimed that they did not give any instruction to beat any student.
Lekhak further said that they would not support the demand of banning student politics in BUET.
He was speaking at a press briefing at Madhu’s Canteen of Dhaka University at around 11:00am on Wednesday.
Lekhak also condemned the failure of the hall authorities in preventing Abrar’s murder while he demanded that the culprits be brought to book, including those who were still at large.
At the Jagannath University campus, at least 10 people were injured as the Bangladesh Chhatra League reportedly attacked a procession that Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal brought out on Wednesday morning protesting at the murder of BUET student Abrar Fahad.
Students also continued protest at Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University, Khulna University, Chittagong University and other universities for the third day in their respective campuses demanding justice.
Police foiled agitation procession of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal on Wednesday noon at Barishal protesting against killing of BUET student Abrar Fahad by BCL activists, reported New Age Barishal Correspondent.
Dhaka Metropolitan chapter of the Socialist Party of Bangladesh in a protest rally in front of press club on Wednesday demanded justice for Abrar.
Bangladesh Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon on Wednesday in a discussion in the capital said that the society became inhuman day by day and it was unimaginable to kill a fellow student by beating.
Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association demanded justice for Abrar immediately.
Senior lawyer AM Aminuddin, also president of the association, made the demand at a press conference held at Shaheed Shafiur Rahman auditorium.
Agitated locals of Abrar’s village continued demonstration against the brutal killing in Kushtia on Wednesday.
Rights group Odhikar in a statement said it strongly condemned the killing of Abrar Fahad and expressed grave concern on this situation of lawlessness and culture of fear.
It also said that the murder of Abrar Fahad had once again made obvious ‘the deplorable condition of human rights in Bangladesh, including the continuous violation of freedom of expression in the country.’
‘Such killings and other human rights violations occur when a culture of impunity is allowed to flourish and there is neither redress nor rule of law,’ said the right group.
Abrar reportedly made a Facebook post on October 5 criticising the government for allowing India to withdraw water from the River Feni of Bangladesh, giving access to the Mongla seaport and for agreeing to supply gas to India.
Rights advocacy group Ain O Salish Kendra in a statement called for formation of neutral probe body to investigate the roles of police and BUET administration in the murder.
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