On June 30, 2018, a group of student activists gathered on the campus of the University of Dhaka were attacked as they prepared for a press conference, with seven of the students sustaining injuries.
The students were part of the so-called quota reform movement, a student-led movement which had been active since early April 2018, demanding changes to the Bangladeshi government’s policies with respect to recruitment for public service positions. On the morning of the attack, students had gathered in front of the University of Dhaka Central Library, when they were attacked by individuals they alleged were members of an organization known as the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL). BCL members denied involvement in the incident. Seven of the quota reformists allegedly suffered injuries in the attack.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a student protest. Students have the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association on campus, but those rights must be exercised in a manner consistent with university values, including non-violence and social responsibility. Violent acts by students engaged in organized expression not only pose a direct threat to the immediate victims, but also undermine academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, and harm democratic society generally.