On May 22, 2023, around one dozen members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) used sticks to assault and seriously injure two members of Jatiyatabadi Chatra Dal (JCD) at Rajshahi University, alleging that JCD was planning to make the campus “unstable.”
BCL members entered the JCD’s tent on campus and assaulted several members of the group. Two of the student activists, Zakir Rezwan–a member of JCD’s convening committee—and Taher Rahman—the joint convener of the JCD unit—reportedly had to seek medical care at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital for injuries that they sustained. BCL’s vice-president admitted that BCL members had carried out the attack to “protect their campus from chaos.”
JCD is the student wing of the main opposition group in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks on campus by students against other students for their affiliation with a student group. Students must 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)