On March 16, 2022, several student leaders in the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) beat and injured Monirul Islam Bhuiyan, a principal at Chandina Redwan Degree Ahmed College, after he requested that BCL protesters to return to class.
Prior to the incident, tensions had been growing between BCL (the student wing of the ruling party) and the college’s leadership due to repeated instances in which some BCL members called on others to leave class for various activities. According to Hilsha News, these tensions had resulted in several physical altercations in the days leading up to March 16.
Then, in the afternoon on March 16, BCL leaders encouraged other student members to leave class and protest by forming a human chain in front of the college’s main gate. When Bhuiyan intervened and told the students to return to class, three BCL leaders – identified as Samirul Khandaker Robi, Kazi Jamil Redwan Ahmed, and Rana – confronted him. Speaking with The Daily Star, Bhuiyan reported that the students “hurled abusive words at [him] and beat [him] up.” At least one student, Robi, alleges that these accusations are false and that the BCL students had been attacked by university employees.
Bhuiyan was taken to Chandina Upazila Health Complex for treatment following the incident and police arrested and briefly held the three students. Bhuiyan stated that he intended to pursue legal action against them.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about students assaulting a higher education official in connection with their expressive activity. Although students have the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise those rights peacefully and responsibly. Attacks on university officials 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)