A skull partly crumpled like a piece of paper bore testimony to the horrific tale that Buet student Arif Rayhan Dwip became part of. The willowy figure that had once joined the progressive youths' movement against notorious war criminals lay voiceless and senseless in the hospital bed for 84 days. All his ordeals began when his fellow student, a radical Islamist, hacked him indiscriminately inside his dormitory to vent his fury on Dwip for questioning the motive of an Imam, a supporter of radical Islamist group Hefajat-e-Islam. Mesbah, the confessed killer of Dwip, was put behind bars for a while but released later on the grounds of mental instability. However, the so-called psychologically imbalanced man is now enjoying a happy married life alongside the impunity endowed on him by the authorities. Though Dwip didn't come out of a coma, Mesbah did come out of jail. Unfortunately, the voice for justice against the murderer of Dwip was not as powerful as it was against the killers of Abrar, a victim of ruthless torture by a group of Bangladesh Chhatra League members.
The pain inflicted on Abrar by BCL men, who beat him up with stumps for a couple of hours, shocked Buet students and the entire nation. Condemnations poured in from all quarters that found it hard to believe that some students belonging to the highest echelon of education in the country could unleash their diabolical nature in that way. Protests under the banner of general students in the university gained momentum and all the perpetrators of the heinous crime received their befitting punishment. The demand for banning student politics on campus became irresistible. But, does the murder of Dwip not demand equal attention? Should anyone be lenient towards someone stabbing his fellow student inside his room? Is the sagging skull of Dwip less horrible than the battered body of Abrar? Then why is there an awkward silence over the death of Dwip? Why was the demand of banning campus politics not raised then and there? Should students take religious extremists less seriously? Is upholding the spirit of the Liberation War and taking a stance against war criminals an unforgivable crime for which one must be stabbed on his head?
The tolerance toward fanatics has long been overlooked at Buet. Like Dwip, I also came under a similar attack for voicing against radical Islamists. Having a track record of exposing cyberactivists of the fanatic network at Buet, I was surrounded by a gang like a pack of wolves. They stabbed me so mindlessly that my body still carries the mark of 130 stitches required for saving my life. None of the attacks on Dwip and me raised so much concern among general students as the attack on Abrar did. This biasedness geared up the speculation that radical Islamists like Shibir activists are masterminding strategies unconsciously carried forward by apolitical students. Whenever there is a ban on student politics, the benefit is reaped by religious fanatics, who secretly build their network by cashing in on the lack of opposition.
Shockingly, past media reports exposed a network of radical groups, including Shibir, operating at Buet and actively organizing smear campaigns. The consequence is grave as Shibir has been identified by a global organization as the third largest non-state armed group in the world. Their silent yet organized presence at Buet culminates in the hushed silence over the gruesome attack on me and Dwip. This is also the reason the killers of Sony, an innocent victim of a gunfight between two factions of Bangladesh Chhatra Dal in 2002, can show an utter disregard for justice. But, all voices are silent on this matter and some are even silenced. The section of students who screamed at the top of their lungs against the Bangladesh Chhatra League activists placing flower bouquets as a tribute to the father of the nation on August 15 show no sign of resistance against the ones wiping the written words on the wall demanding justice for the murder of Sony and Dwip. This trend must discontinue as we don't want to see another innocent victim like Sony or Dwip.
The writer is a Coordinator at CRI
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