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: October 07, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Dhaka

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 7, 2022, members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), a student group affiliated with the country’s ruling party, attacked members of Chhatra Odhikar Parishad (COP), a political student group, during a memorial ceremony at the University of Dhaka (DU).

COP organized the ceremony in remembrance of Abrar Fahad, a student at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) who was beaten to death by BCL members in 2019 (see report here).

BCL student leaders initially approached COP leaders and asked them to allow only DU students to attend the ceremony. When COP refused, the two sides began to argue. The BCL members then left and returned with more members, who attacked the attendees with sticks and metal pipes. According to reports, BCL members also chased attendees from the venue and chanted insulting slogans.

Some COP members clashed with BCL members during the attack and beat them as well. At least 12 people were injured and at least 15 were detained by the police for questioning.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent attack during a student event. Students have a responsibility to refrain from violence on campus, and to respect freedom of expression and freedom of association. This conduct is protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which Bangladesh is a party. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such attacks 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)