200 Injured As Police Beat
Bangladesh University Girls

By Ershadul Huq
Indo-Asian News Service

DHAKA, Bangladesh (IANS) -- About 200 woman students of the Dhaka University were injured when police allegedly broke into a girl's dormitory and beat them up.
The police allegedly cracked down on the girls' dormitory -- Shamsun Nahar Hall -- early Wednesday morning to rescue some women activists of the Jatiyatabadi Chattra Dal (JCD), the student wing of ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The other girls had confined the JCD members, who wanted Sultana Shafi, the provost of the hall, to be removed from her post.
During the unprecedented hour-and-a-half long action that started at around 1.30 a.m. Wednesday, the police in riot gear dragged the girls out of their beds in the hall, abused and beat up them, witnesses claimed.
Some victims claimed the police not only tortured them physically but verbally abused them as well. They said while being dragged out their dresses got ripped in the brutal action.
Police took 18 students to the capital's Ramna police station. They were released late Wednesday and have been asked to appear in court.
Four assistant proctors of the university, including a female one, were present during the police action.
Shafi Ullah, one of the proctors, reportedly justified the action, saying it was against the unruly students.
The incident triggered a chain of protests and violence on the campus throughout Wednesday, even as politicians compared the police action to the crackdown by Pakistani occupation forces shortly before Bangladesh won independence in 1971.
Thousands of students took to the streets, vandalised and torched vehicles. A double-decker bus was set ablaze Wednesday night, but no passenger was hurt. A university bus was also torched.
The police have arrested 27 students.
Some students were injured when police clubbed the agitators, even as JCD activists repeatedly attacked the agitating scholars on campus.
Students came in a huge procession and staged a sit-in outside the vice-chancellor's office. When asked to leave by the police, angry students got into an argument with them.
Police lobbed tear gas on the students to disperse them, but the entire campus reportedly turned into a battlefield. At one stage, the police baton-charged the angry youths injuring 100 students, mostly girls.
The paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) has been deployed to quell the agitation, even as the home and education ministers met university authorities late Wednesday to decide how to tackle the situation.
Different groups have strongly condemned the police action on the girls and demanded swift action against those responsible.
At least 118 university teachers have demanded vice-chancellor Anwar Ullah Chowdhury's resignation.
In a statement, Communist Party leaders Monjurul Ahsan Khan and Mujahidul Islam Selim said what the police did to the girls reminded the people of the heinous acts of the Pakistani occupation forces in March 1971.
Another leftist leader, Rashed Khan Menon, alleged the attack came on the directions of the government.
Copyright © 2001 IANS India Private Limited. All rights Reserved.


This Site Served by TheHostPros