A student was killed in a political clash two decades ago. Her family is now struggling to pay for her father's cancer treatment

Sabikunnahar Sony died in a shootout between two factions of the Chhatra Dal fighting over tender in 2002

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 29 Jan 2023, 09:06 AM
Updated : 29 Jan 2023, 09:06 AM

Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, the father of Sabikunnahar Sony, who died in the crossfire between two factions of the Chhatra Dal two decades ago, is fighting cancer. His family, struggling to pay for his medical treatment, is soliciting help from the government.

After his retirement, Habibur was diagnosed with cancer in September. His health condition worsened quite quickly, his son Maksudur Rahman Rana said.

The father of three children, Habibur worked in BTCL. His wife Dilara Begum worked at Sonali Bank. Habibur initiated a movement demanding a ‘violence-free campus’ after he lost his daughter in the gunfight. He became the face of the movement.

He is currently receiving treatment at Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital in Uttara. “Father has been diagnosed with blood cancer [non-Hodgkin's lymphoma] and the doctors prescribed six doses of chemotherapy,” Rana said.

“He became severely ill after the first dose. Now he has pneumonia and has to use a feeding tube.”

Habibur’s cancer treatment will continue after he recovers from pneumonia. But the family is worried about the treatment cost.

“We’re unable to afford the treatment and hope the government and other well-wishers will help us.”

Although his father often feels tired and sick when speaking, sometimes he talks about his eldest daughter Sony, said Rana.

“He is still frustrated that those responsible for Sony’s death have not been punished in 19 years.”

Sony, a student of Chemical Engineering batch 99, was shot dead in a gunfight between two groups of Chhatra Dal, the student wing of the BNP, over BUET tenders in 2002.

She was caught in the middle of the gunfight between the groups led by BUET Chhatra Dal President Mokammel Hayat Khan Muki and Tagar in Dhaka University’s SM Hall.

A case was filed after a long protest and the lower court sentenced Muki, Tagar and Nurul Islam Sagar to death.

The High Court changed the death sentence to life imprisonment and acquitted SM Masum Billah in its verdict in 2006.

Muki fled to Australia and Sagar went into hiding as well. Tagar is in jail.

Different student organisations at BUET observe the death anniversary of Sony as ‘Student Protest Day against Violence.’ Also, the Sony Memorial Foundation observes Jun 8 as a ‘violence-free campus’ day.

The BUET administration named the female students’ hall ‘Sabikunnahar Sony Hall' following demands from students.