Bangladesh: Ruling Awami League affiliated Chhatra league men assault female students

The Institute of Health Technology in Rajshahi has been closed for an indefinite period after ruling Awami League (AL) affiliated Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders assaulted female students leaving at least five of them injured yesterday, the Prothom Alo reported.

Of the victims, three were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. But they left the hospital in a hurry fearing further attacks.

At least five women were pushed to the ground, dragged and beaten up in front of police and Principal of the institute Sirajul Islam.

The women were attacked when they were returning to their dorm.

Female students alleged that a group of BCL activists entered the female dormitory and hurled abusive words, including threatening them with gang rape on the campus in broad daylight, on 3 December as some of them could not turn up at a program of the Medical Technologists held on the campus on the day.

The threats of attack and rape were repeated on multiple occasions on Monday and Tuesday, and about 100 female students staged a sit-in yesterday morning demanding security on the campus.

The female students of the Institute on Wednesday morning went to the principal office to lodge a complaint against the BCL activists. The principle then assured them of taking actions after an investigation.

When the female students were about to come out of the principal office, a group of BCL men led by Jahidul Islam, president of the institute unit of the pro-Awami League student body, attacked the women when they were going to their dorm accompanied by the principal around 11:30 am.

Fearing untoward incident, the authorities of the institute asked the male students to vacate its dormitories by 1:00 pm and female students by 3:00 pm. The principal said resident students were asked to leave their dorms by 3:00 pm.

Earlier this year, the institute remained shut for over a month after a brawl between rival groups of BCL men, teachers said.

Cashing on the silence of the authorities, Chhatra League men have unleashed a reign of terror on the campuses of public educational institutions, including the Institute of Health Technology, Rajshahi over the last several years.

A senior AL leader, wishing anonymity, said BCL men controlled all the student dormitories and often engaged in violent clashes on campuses of public educational institutions in Rajshahi.

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