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: November 13, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Barisal Engineering College

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 13, 2023, a group of students affiliated with the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) assaulted around a dozen students for not attending a political event on campus at Barisal Engineering College.

Earlier that day, the State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk Shamim inaugurated a mural of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Bangladesh’s independence movement, who held positions as president and prime minister of Bangladesh from 1971 until he was killed in a military coup in 1975. BCL leaders reportedly had demanded that all students attend the event.

That evening, following the mural’s inauguration, several BCL members assaulted around a dozen students in their hostel. The BCL-affiliated students claimed that the clash had started after leaders affiliated with the Bangladesh National Party-Jamaat had tried to vandalize the mural during its inauguration. Three injured students were treated at Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks by students on their peers. 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 victim, 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)