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: February 09, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Chittagong University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 9, 2023, members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) harassed Marjan Akter, a student of Chittagong University (CU) and the university correspondent for the Daily Samakal newspaper, while she was reporting on a campus protest.

The protesters were demanding that the Institute of Fine Arts be moved to the main CU campus while its current location is closed for remodel. At the time she was harassed, Atker was documenting the actions of BCL activists who were trying to prevent the sit-in protesters by snatching banners from them and shouting at them.

Around 10 BCL members reportedly surrounded Akter demanding she delete footage of their intimidation of the Fine Arts’ students. They shouted expletives at her and prevented her from leaving the area. When she refused to delete the videos, BCL members tried to steal her bag and phone.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by reports of students attacking and verbally harassing another student in order to prevent free expression on campus. Students must refrain from violence, especially on campus, and respect the right to freedom of expression. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on campus 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)