The accused of the Abrar Fahad murder case used the Chhatra League unit for Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) as shelter to create an environment of fear on the campus.
Additional Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Monirul Islam made the comment at a press briefing held at the DMP media centre on Wednesday, adding that the suspected killers had always led rowdy and chaotic lives.
Earlier on the day, police pressed charges against 25 current and former members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League in connection with the murder of Abrar.
Among the accused, 21 have already been arrested while four others are absconding.
The accused are Mehedi Hassan Rasel, Muhtasim Fuyad, Onik Sorker, Mehedi Hassan Robin, Ifty Mosharaf Sokal, Moniruzzaman Monir, Meftahul Islam Jiyon, Majedur Rahman, Muzahidur Rahman, Tabakhairul Islam Tanvir, Hossen Mohammad Toha, Jisan, Akhas, Shamim Billah, Nazmul Shadat, Ajtesamul Rabbi Tanim, Morshed Omorto Islam, Mowaz Abu Horaira, Muntasir Al Jemi, Omit Shaha, Mujtaba Rafid, Istiaq Hassan Munna, Shamsul Arifin Rafad, Mizanur Rahman and Mahmud Setu.
During the media brief, Monirul said, "Eleven people were involved in the torture that left Abrar dead. All of them have been put behind bars. The suspects had created an environment of fear on the campus under the guise of ragging."
"The suspects used to torture other students if they failed to greet them with a Salam [the standard salutation among Muslims] or smile at them, so that other students would get the message."
The additional commissioner of the DMP continued, "A murder case was filed naming 19 Buet students. But during the investigation, police unearthed six more names in connection with the murder."
"Police arrested 16 out of 19 suspects and five of the six people whose name came up during the probe. Eight arrested students have already confessed before the court. A total of 31 people are serving as witnesses in the case."
Police confirmed the identity of 11 students directly involved with the Abrar murder using latest technology, analysing CCTV footages and interviewing eyewitness.
The rest of the accused were involved in the murder directly and indirectly, including in the planning and direction, said the senior police official.
Responding to a query about the motive, Monirul Islam said, "We have submitted an objective charge sheet. No single reason was found as a motive behind the killing. Abrar was beaten over the suspicion of being a Shibir activist."
'Buet could have been a bit more careful'
Adding that the hall and university authorities could have been a bit more careful, the additional commissioner of the DMP said, "Although this did not come up as part of the investigation, after judging and observing the entire incident we still think that the Buet hall authorities showed some lax behaviour."
"We found in the investigation that they (accused killers) started torturing Abrar around 10pm and the doctor declared him dead around 3am. If he had been taken to the hospital sometime before then, his life could have been saved."
When responding to questions regarding a quicker police response, Monirul Islam said, "The police were informed about the incident around 3am and a patrol team rushed to the Buet campus immediately."
Commenting on the matter, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Wednesday, "We were trying to press charges without any possible mistakes. The police have pressed charges. We hope the trial will begin quickly."
Meanwhile, academic activities of the Buet remain suspended since October 7.
On early hours of October 7, Bangladesh Chhatra League members beat Abrar Fahad to death at his dormitory on the campus for his alleged affiliation with the Islami Chhatra Shibir politics.
Abrar, 21, was a second-year student of electrical and electronics engineering department of the university. The incident triggered nationwide protests as students of different universities across the country took to the streets demanding arrest and capital punishment of the killers.