Waves of attacks launched by Bangladesh Chhatra League activists injured around 50 students who were demonstrating at Dhaka University demanding withdrawal of a case against them and punishment of the BCL activists who assaulted and molested students on January 15.
Ruling Awami League-backed Chhatra League activists on Tuesday carried out one after another attacks brandishing sharp weapons, iron rods, cricket stumps and hockey sticks to take out vice-chancellor Professor M Akhtaruzaman, proctor Professor Golam Rabbani out of a siege laid by the protesting students.
The Chhatra League activists at first attacked the male students and molested female ones on the corridor inside the VC office and when the students tried to escape through different gates, the attackers once again clubbed for two hours since 2:30pm.
Even the students, including females, who did not take part in the protest but tried to save the protesters from the attacks, were not spared.
Chhatra League activists, led by its president Saifur Rahman Sohag and general secretary Zakir Hossain, carried out the attacks for over two hours but no police interference was found, witnesses said.
Protestors said that the critically injured included DU correspondent of the Independent Mir Arshad, Chhatra Union general secretary Liton Nandy, Chhatra Federation DU unit president Umme Habiba Benojir and Chhatra Front DU unit president Eva Majumdar and protesting students Anik Roy, Apu Roy, Rajib Raj Das, Taj War, Jowhar Lal Roy, Abu Raihan, Zafrul Nadim and Russell.
‘Heinous attacks on peaceful protest left about 50 students including females injured,’ said protesting student Masud Al Mahadi.
‘We want punishment of the culprits,’ said Masud a Master’s student of mass communication and journalism, also convenor of Nipiran Birodhi Shikkhartibrinda, the platform conducting the movement.
‘We went there to protect teachers from humiliation,’ Saifur Rahman Sohag said, adding they resisted who went to vandalise the university property.
Proctor Golam Rabbani said teacher and general students resisted the attack on Dhaka University vice-chancellor.
DU VC’s personal assistant Kabir Mallik, who received phone calls made in VC’s phone twice between 6:30pm and 7:30pm, said Akhtaruzzaman was in an important meeting.
The protesting students are holding programmes since January 18 night when the university administration lodged a case against 50 to 60 unidentified students who allegedly broke the collapsible gate of the proctor’s office during a demonstration on January 17.
On January 17, they started to hold demonstration demanding punishment of Chhatra League activists who assaulted male students and molested female students on January 15 when they were on protest in front of the VC office demanding cancellation of the affiliation of seven colleges to the university.
On Tuesday, demonstrators formed a human chain in front of arts faculty building to press home their four point demands of withdrawal of a case filed by the administration against students in connection with intruding into the proctor’s office, actions against the attacker Chhatra League activists, resignation of proctor and cancellation of the affiliation of seven colleges to the university.
After the human chain, over 100 students moved toward VC office breaking three collapsible gates to confine Professor Akateruzzman to his office around noon.
The VC tried to leave the office about 2:30pm through a door that led to Senate Building. Seeing it, protesting students surrounding him started to chant slogan in favour of their demands.
At this point, a group of Chhatra League activists, led by Zakir Hossain and DU Chhatra league president Abid Al Hasan, attacked the students. In the meantime, Akhtaruzzaman left the office.
Witnesses said groups upon groups of Chhatra League activists from different hall units joined the attackers and started to beat the protesting students at the corridor of registrar building.
A group of Chhatra League activists, led by Saifur Rahman Shohag, attacked the students in front of registrar building.
Injured Abu Raihan, also an organiser of the student protest, told New Age that the attack by Chhatra League activists was coordinated and pre-planned.
Some 1,000 activists of BCL, led by its president Saifur Rahman Sohagh and secretary Zakir Hossain, launched the attack, he said.
The protesting students who were around 80 to 100 in number got dispersed in the face of sudden attack, he said.
‘The BCL attackers indiscriminately hit us, be she a female student or a general student or a journalist,’ said Anik Roy, also one of the injured.
Another student Khairul Islam Suvo said the BCL activists dragged down the female students, hit them in the chest and lower parts of the body, to break their morale.
‘There was hue and cry all around,’ he described.
Several groups of female Chhatra League activists also attacked the female protesters in and out of the VC office.
Dhaka Medical College director Brigadier General AKM Nasir Uddin told New Age that most of the students suffered injuries caused by hit at different parts of their bodies.
On-duty doctor said some 30 students were given treatment.
Left-leaning Democratic Left Alliance, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Socialist Party of Bangladesh and Progressive Students Alliance condemned the attack on students and demanded immediate punishment of the culprits.
Bangladesh Chhatra League activists’ ceaseless infighting as well as attacking common students on campuses across the country disrupted academic atmosphere time and again in the past six months. At least five activists of the organisation were killed in infighting during the period.