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: March 13, 2024

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Dhaka

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 13, 2024, around 20 members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the country’s ruling party the Awami League, assaulted six law students at the University of Dhaka (DU).

The law students had gathered at a mosque located in Bangabandhu Tower, an on-campus residential building for DU employees, for a religious seminar about the importance of Ramadan. During the seminar, Sirajul Haque, the president of the Bangabandhu Tower Employees’ Association, asked the students to leave. As they were leaving, DU BCL general secretary Tawhidul Islam Sujan and around 20 other BCL members confronted the law students, throwing them to the ground and beating them. At least one student was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

Tanvir Hasan Saikat, another DU BCL general secretary, denied that BCL members had instigated the confrontation and suggested that Bangabandhu Tower residents had attacked the group.

DU’s proctor Maksudur Rahman stated that the incident would be investigated but that an official complaint was not filed.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent attacks on campus by students against other students for holding an on-campus event. 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.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://www.newagebd.net/article/227824/5-injured-as-bcl-attacks-discussion-meeting-at-du
https://www.observerbd.com/news.php?id=464316
https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/du-law-dept-students-say-bcl-men-attacked-their-discussion/132499