On December 5, 2022, teachers and staff of Rajshahi University’s Urdu Department clashed with around 20 of the department’s students in the Urdu department. Four women students were injured.
At the time of the clash, the students were on hunger strike demanding the re-evaluation of exam results. Eight out of 38 students had failed in two out of three courses according to the published results. Students attributed the low grades to a rivalry between teachers in different departments to see which students would perform best. Prior to engaging in a hunger strike, the students had submitted written complaints to the Urdu Department’s chairman and the university’s vice-chancellor. When the examinations committee voted to keep the scores, the students decided to go on hunger strike.
The clash ensued after teachers from the department and students got into an argument about ending the hunger strike. Four women students were admitted to the university medical center for treatment following the clash.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence occurring in the course of a student protest. Both higher education staff and students should refrain from violence, especially on campus, and respect the right to freedom of association and freedom of expression, and university authorities must take reasonable measures to ensure safe living conditions for students. In addition to 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)