CU sexual harassment: Four arrestees claim to have BCL ties

But they did not hold any post in the ruling party's student affiliate, according to the RAB

Chattogram Bureaubdnews24.com
Published : 23 July 2022, 05:00 AM
Updated : 23 July 2022, 05:00 AM

The four men arrested on charges of sexually harassing a student at Chattogram University claimed to be activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, according to the Rapid Action Battalion.

However, RAB-7 Captain MA Yusuf refused to present them as members of the ruling Awami League's student affiliate as they did not hold any posts in the organisation.

The RAB arrested them during raids in different parts of Chattogram on Friday.

One of the arrestees, Mohammed Azim, a third-year history major at CU, was identified as the main perpetrator.

Azim admitted to being a supporter of the BCL during questioning, according to the RAB. However, the president of the Chhatra League's CU unit Rezaul Haque Rubel distanced the organisation from the suspect and said it bears no responsibility for Azim's actions.

The case stems from the harassment of a female student, who was allegedly stopped by five strangers while she was returning to her dormitory with a friend from the university's Hotashar Mor area on the night of Jul 17.

The miscreants forcibly took them to the Botanical Garden and harassed them. They photographed the incident and threatened to spread the pictures on the internet. They allegedly tried to rape the girl as well.

After the student lodged a complaint with the university, a probe committee was formed to look into the allegations. Criminal charges were also filed with the Hathazari Police Station on Jul 20.

The incident sparked heated protests on the CU campus as students demanded punishment for the miscreants.

On Saturday, the RAB held a media briefing where it revealed that two of the arrestees are Chattogram University students while the others were studying at Hathazari College.

Apart from the 23-year-old Azim, Nurul Afsar Babu, a second-year anthropology student at CU, was also arrested over the incident. The two live near the university because of their parents' jobs.

The other arrestees are Nur Hossain Shaon, 22, and Masud Rana, 22, both residents of Hathazari.

Asked about the suspects' political affiliations, Yusuf said, "Azim claims to be a follower of Chattogram University's [Chhatra League] president and others support a different faction. But since they don't hold any official positions, we can't call them members of any party."

The RAB learnt about the involvement of two other suspects in the incident from interrogating Azim, said Yusuf.

"We've arrested four of them but efforts are now underway to arrest the two remaining suspects."

However, the incident was not 'premeditated', according to the RAB official. The suspects were hanging out on campus on the night of the incident. They later went to Hotashar Mor on two motorcycles.

"They then saw the victim and her friend and accosted them. When the student tried to stand up to them, they beat and tied up her friend. After sexually assaulting the student, Azim recorded obscene videos on his own phone as well as those of the student and her friend. One of the suspects also tried to pressure the girl into having physical relations with him and threatened to circulate the videos."

CU TO EXPEL SUSPECTS

Meanwhile, CU Vice-Chancellor Shireen Akhter has condemned the incident and said those involved will be expelled by the administration.

The university will give no leeway to the perpetrators, she said during the 34th annual senate meeting on Saturday.

"They will be expelled by the disciplinary committee either today or tomorrow."

"Our girls will not be abused when I am vice chancellor. It will be dealt with."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher