The Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Wednesday submitted a charge sheet against 25 Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology students associated with ruling Awami League-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League for the torture and murder of fellow student Abrar Fahad Rabbi inside a hall on October 7.
Additional commissioner Monirul Islam at a briefing at their media centre said they identified 11 of the 25 who were involved in the beating that left Abrar killed while the rests were ‘directly’ or ‘indirectly’ in the brutal killing. he did not name the 11.
‘We have submitted the charge sheet today [Wednesday] and hope that the justice will be done,’ said Monirul.
About the motive, Monirul said that not a single issue rather the perpetrators claimed the ‘defiant attitude’ of Abrar, his social media posts and critical views, and the suspicion of his possible involvement in Islami Chhatra Shibir and banned Hizbut Tahrir led the perpetrators to torture him.
‘They [perpetrators] used their political identities as a shield,’ said the metropolitan police spokesperson, adding, ‘they used to be habituated with activities unbecoming for a student. We found that they used their political identities as platform to establish their authoritarian dominance.’
Monirul said that they named 25 students of the university, including 19 named in the first information report filed with Chawkbazar police station by his father Barkat Ullah.
The charge sheet mentioned that 21 of the 25 accused were arrested while the rest four were still in hiding, Monirul said, adding that they named 31 prosecution witnesses, including Abrar’s six family members, 7 teachers BUET and physician, 13 students, and five employees.
Eight of the 25 suspects made statements before metropolitan magistrates in Dhaka in the midst of investigation reportedly confessing to the torture and murder.
The investigators found involvement of 22 students through the CCTV footage while the rest three were named by the corroborative evidences and reported confessions.
Abrar, 21, a second-year student of department of electrical and electronic engineering at the university, was beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders at the university’s Sher-e-Bangla Hall on October 7.
His killing, which followed his Facebook posting on critical views over India-Bangladesh deal, had triggered protests nationally and internationally.
At the briefing, the metropolitan police showed a video clipping over the killing in which the investigators said one of Abrar’s roommates insisted their seniors to examine the victim’s possible ties with any ‘controversial student politics’.
Following to the request, the sketch video stated that perpetrators held meeting at the hall canteen on October 4 and discussed issues related to Abrar.
They held similar meeting at the hall guest room on the day and on October 6, a group of fellow students instructed by their ‘senior’ visited Abrar at his room 1011 which he used to share with three others and awoke him up at about 7:30pm and instructed to go to room 2011 on the first floor, where he was tortured to death.
His laptop and mobile phone were also taken with him and he was placed on the floor at room 2011 for the interrogation over his suspected involvement in any controversial student politics.
Monirul said the university authorities were informed about the incident at about 2:00am on October 7 and the nearby police station was informed at about 3:00am.
He said they did not investigate the role of the university and hall authorities but had they taken measures required the incident could have been avoided.
According the Detective Branch investigators, BUET Chhatra League general secretary Mehedi Hasan Russel of civil engineering, vice-president Muhtasim Fuad of civil engineering, organising secretary Mehedi Hasan Robin, information and research affairs secretary Anik Sarkar, deputy social welfare secretary Ifti Mosharrf Sakal, sports secretary Meftahul Islam Zion of naval architecture and marine engineering, Moniruzzaman Monir, 21, of water resources, Muzahidur Rahman Muzahid of civil engineering departments, Majedur Rahman of marine engineering, Khandaker Tabakkharul Islam Tanvir, Hossen Mohammad Toha, Mohammad Akash of civil engineering, Mohammad Shamim Billah of the marine engineering department, Muntasir Alam Jemi of chemical engineering, Mohammad Moaj Abu Huraira and ASM Nazmus Sadat were named in the FIR and also named in the charge sheet.
They also named Ishtiaq Hasan Munna of mechanical engineering, Shamsul Arefin Rafat, of mechanical engineering, Amit Saha, SM Mahmud Setu and Mizanur Rahman in the charge sheet although they were not initially named in the complaint.
Monirul said that Mohammad Jisan, Mohammad Tanim, Mohammad Morshed, who were named in FIR, and Mujtaba Rafi, who was not named in the complaint, were still in hiding.
All of them were involved with the politics aligned to the ruling Awami League, according to the BCL, investigators and fellow students.
Abrar on October 5 criticised the government for allowing India to withdraw water from the Feni River of Bangladesh, access the Mongla seaport and for agreeing to supply gas to India on a Facebook post.
It was not only reason for he was targeted rather many other issues including his defiant attitude made the attackers angry with him, said Monirul.
Amit, one of the four residents of room 2011, where the incident occurred, was widely named by social media activists who considered him as one of the key suspects in the murder.
‘He was not present physically in the scene but we found he was aware of these happenings,’ said Monirul.
Abrar’s father Barkat told New Age that they were satisfied that the charge sheet was submitted quickly but was unwilling to comment without reading it.
The BUET student welfare director Mizanur Rahman said they were trying to collect the charge sheet to hand it over to the university-formed inquiry team to take decision over the suspected students.
The demonstrating students said they would come up with their decision at a press conference today.
Following the submission of the charge sheet by the DMP’s detective branch officials, the home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the charge sheet was made ‘flawless’ while the law minister, Anisul Huq, announced that the government would take initiative to make the trial of the case as sooner.
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