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: January 17, 2024

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Government Ashek Mahmud College

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 17, 2024, around 4 members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the country’s ruling party the Awami League, assaulted Helal Uddin, a staff member of Government Ashek Mahmud College, Jamalpur, after he refused to enroll students without administrative approval.

Prior to the assault, the BCL members, led by college branch president Shamim Ahmed and vice president Nadeem Hasan, approached Uddin in an on campus computer lab and requested that he enroll students from other colleges to Government Ashek Mahmud College. Uddin refused to add any names to the admission list without receiving approval from a college administrator and the BCL members attacked him. They reportedly began to kick and punch him, and then transported him to a cemetery off campus where they continued their attack. The attackers fled when local witnesses came to Uddin’s aid and college authorities transported him to a local hospital.

Following the incident, the district BCL chapter temporarily suspended Ahmed and Hasan. Uddin filed a report at a local police station.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent attack by students against a higher education institution staff member. State and higher education authorities must take reasonable measures to ensure a safe environment for staff, and students must refrain from violence. In addition to harm to the immediate victim, violent attacks on staff undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://www.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/district/dgd4mbu5ve
https://bangla.bdnews24.com/samagrabangladesh/d312dee4dg