SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 22, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Dhaka

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 22, 2020, alleged members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling political party, attacked students during a protest.

On September 20, a student at the University of Dhaka (DU) accused the former DU Central Students Union vice president and five student leaders from the Bangladesh General Students’ Right Protection Council (BSRC) of rape.

On September 22, members of the BSRC formed a human chain in front of the Tangail Press Club, calling for the withdrawal of the case against their members, and demanding that they be permitted to protest peacefully and that the state cover medical costs for injuries sustained by their members during a protest the previous day. During the September 22 demonstration, BCL members reportedly attacked the BSRC members with sticks, injuring at least five BSRC members and one journalist.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks during student protests. State and university authorities should take reasonable steps to respond to alleged violent crimes on campus, and to prevent attacks against student protesters, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable. Students and other members of society should also be reminded to refrain from using physical violence in response to expression with which they disagree. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on students undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).