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: August 17, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Shahjalal University of Science and Technology

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 17, 2023, members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling party, the Awami League, assaulted two students and forced them out of their dorm rooms at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

One of the students, Saikat Roy, a third-year student in the petroleum and mining engineering department filed a written complaint with the university. According to Roy, a group of 15 BCL members attacked him and his roommate, Mehedi Hasan, forcing them to vacate their officially assigned room. Roy further claimed that the BCL members verbally abused him and Hasan, and took Taka 3,500 (about $32) from his reading table drawer.

According to several students, Hasan had called out SUST’s pro-vice-chancellor on Facebook for criticizing US sanctions on Bangladesh despite sending his son to study there. The students indicated that the BCL members may have targeted Hasan for his comments.

The university’s dormitory authorities established a three-member body to investigate the incident

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks by students on other students. State and university authorities must take reasonable measures to ensure safe living conditions for students, and students must refrain from violence. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on students undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.