On February 8, 2023, a group of at least 7 members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling party, the Awami League, attacked four students inside a Chittagong Medical College (CHMEC) dormitory.
The BCL members reportedly called students SA Raihan, Zahid Hossain, Sakib Hossain, and Mobasshir Hossain from their respective dorm rooms and brought them to a room where they accused them of being members of Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, the largest Ismalist political party in the country. The BCL members beat the four students for hours before permitting them to leave the following day. Zahid and Sakib were hospitalized, while Mobasshir and Raihan were sent to their family homes.
On February 16, Zahid and Sakib submitted complaints to the Chittagong Medical College Principal, identifying seven BCL activists as the ones responsible for the attack.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent and apparently targeted attack against students in apparent connection to the nonviolent exercise of the right to freedom of association. State and university authorities should take reasonable steps to respond to and prevent such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable. 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)