The brand of shame that is Chhatra League: Murders, brutality, arson and controversies aplenty
Complaints against the leaders and activists of the student body are aplenty, while their involvement with crime continues to increase and making headlines from time to time
The murder of a Buet student on campus is not the first time Bangladesh Chhatra League has disgraced its parent organization — Awami League — with its controversial activities, which include violence, scams, murders and brutality.
Abrar Fahad, a second year EEE student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), has fallen latest victim of their evil deeds.
Complaints against the leaders and activists of the student body are aplenty, while their involvement with crime continues to increase and making headlines from time to time.
However, examples of the perpetrators belonging to the Chhatra League and getting punished for the crime committed are only a few.
The situation has come too far that top Awami League leaders are nowadays admitting their embarrassment and frustration publicly, as Chhatra League’s activities are tarnishing the ruling party’s image as well as putting it into somewhat in crisis mode.
In the backdrop of Abrar’s murder, Dhaka Tribune looked back on some of the crimes committed by Chhatra League men and current status of the cases.
Over a calculator
It is common courtesy to return someone’s possessions after borrowing them. However, some Chhatra League activists of Dhaka University (DU) believe this does not apply to them, as one student learned the hard way.
Ehsan Rafiq, then a second year student at DU’s Disaster Management and Science department, lent his calculator to Chhatra League’s Salimullah Muslim Hall unit Assistant Secretary Omar Faruk in late 2017.
When Ehsan finally went to Omar in February this year, after having repeatedly asked for returning the calculator, all he got were severe beatings.
Then some top Chhatra League leaders called him into the TV room and snatched his phone, accusing him of being a Shibir activist.
Then, a number of Chhatra League goons beat Ehsan with metal rods and sticks till he lost consciousness.
Subsequently, the attackers took the victim to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment and told duty doctors that he had “an accident.”
When Ehsan returned to the dorms, the Chhatra League goons confined him to Room 16 for eight hours, beating and threatening him yet again, in an attempt to prevent the incident from coming to light.
The only action taken was expulsion of a student and suspension of seven in different terms by the university.
Road safety too much?
In the first week of August 2018, during a road safety movement, several students and journalists were injured when a group of people, wearing helmets and wielding blunt and sharp weapons, attacked them in Jigatola and Dhanmondi areas in Dhaka.
The movement, demanding safer roads and implementation of traffic laws, erupted nationwide after two college students ran over by a bus on Airport Road on July 29, 2018.
The attack on the students and journalists in Dhanmondi areas were carried out by a large group of ruling party activists, including many from Chhatra League who were identified later.
The murder of Bishwajit Das
A group of activists of Chhatra League caught Bishwajit, a tailor by profession, on the way to his tailoring shop in Laxmibazar of Old Dhaka on December 9, 2012, during a strike enforced by the BNP-led opposition.
Bishwajit, then 24, was hacked and beaten to death. The brutal killing in broad daylight was caught on cameras of four TV channels and several newspapers.
As law enforcers present in the area did not stop the attackers, a rickshaw puller rescued and took him to a hospital where on-duty doctors declared him dead.
A speedy tribunal in 2013 convicted a total of 21 Chhatra League men including eight of them sentenced to death and 13 to different terms in prison.
Later, the High Court in August 2017 upheld death for two.
Zubair murder at JU
Zubair Ahmed, an honours final-year student of English department at Jahangirnagar University, was tortured and stabbed by some Chhatra League activists on January 8, 2012. He succumbed to his injuries in a Dhaka hospital the following day.
Zubair, who himself was a Chhatra League activist, was stabbed by a rival group. The murder stirred protests across the campus. Then-vice chancellor Prof Sharif Enamul Kabir had to resign following protests by students.
A Speedy Trial Tribunal on February 8, 2015 sentenced five – all Chhatra League members – to death in the murder case.
A Speedy Trial Tribunal on February 8, 2015 sentenced five – all Chhatra League men – to death and life term imprisonment to two and acquitted four others.
The High Court, however, in January 2018 upheld the tribunal’s verdict.
Death of meritorious Abu Bakar
Dhaka University student Abu Bakar Siddique was killed during a fierce clash between two groups of Chhatra League activists of Sir AF Rahman Hall in February, 2010.
The authorities expelled 10 activists, following a preliminary investigation.
Police then arrested eight in connection with the case filed by a student, but they were later released.
Diaz murder at CU
The former joint secretary of Chittagong University (CU) Chhatra League unit, also assistant secretary of central unit, Diaz Irfan, was found dead in his flat on November 20, 2017.
Police recovered his hanging body from his bedroom, but the family alleged that the body was hanged after he was killed.
Diaz’s mother said her son was murdered as a consequence of rivalry among BCL leaders centering a tender of the university.
The case is now being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department.
One lucky Khadiza
Chhatra League leader Badrul Alam attempted to murder college girl Khadiza Akter Nargis, a student of Sylhet MC College, using a machete in October 2016, after the girl ignored his relationship proposal.
Badrul, then a top leader of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, was suspended soon after.
The attack happened in full view of the public and was filmed on mobile phones by some bystanders before Badrul was caught and handed over to the police. The country expressed its outrage when the videos later went viral on social media.
A Sylhet court in March 2017 sentenced Badrul Alam to life imprisonment.
A master’s student of Rajshahi University and joint convenor of the local quota reform movement Toriqul Islam was beaten badly by several Chhatra League men on July 2018 in front of the university’s main gate.
The victim’s back and legs were pounded with hammer by Abdullah Al Mamun, then an assistant secretary of RU Chhatra League unit.
Toriqul had two of his right leg’s bones broken, along with eight stitches on his head.
But no action was taken regarding the incident since.
Torching of MC College
The hostel of MC College in Sylhet was torched in July 2012 while clashes between pro-government Chhatra League and Islami Chhatra Shibir activists of Sylhet MC College resulted a hundred rooms of a dormitory brunt.
Five out of the six blocks of the hostel of the century-old college were badly damaged due to the devastating fire.
Activists of ruling party-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jubo League allegedly set the structure afire after clashing with Islami Chhatra Shibir activists that day.
A report by an inquiry body, published five years after the incident, confirmed that Chhatra League men carried out the attack.
Two cases were filed in the incident and both are now on trial.