10/10/2019, 16.12
BANGLADESH
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Dhaka: Student murder due to the "silence of culture"

by Sumon Corraya

Abrar Fahad Rabbi, 21, was a student at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He was killed by members of the youth wing of the ruling Awami League party for a Facebook post criticising the government.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – The murder of a student in Bangladesh is the result of the "silence of culture,” said Fr Liton Hubart Gomes, secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Dhaka.

The clergyman spoke to AsiaNews about the killing of Abrar Fahad Rabbi, a student at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), a crime that led to a four-day protest.

On 7 October, Abrar, 21, a native of the village of Kushtia, was killed by members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the youth wing of the ruling Awami League. He was tortured for several hours for writing a comment on Facebook criticising the government.

In his post, he said that Bangladeshi authorities should not allow India to take water from the Feni River, nor allow Indian access to the maritime port of Mongla, or sign gas supply agreements.

After his death, students took to the streets to demonstrate against the murder and issued a 10-point statement calling for, among other things, stern penalties for the killers, monitoring of video surveillance footage and banning politics on the university campus.

"In Bangladesh the persecution of students takes place in almost all universities,” Fr Gomes bemoans. “Students persecute other students. Certainly, BUET authorities were aware of this, but did not take any disciplinary action."

"Young people spend at least 10 years in classrooms,” he noted. “This is why schools should offer courses on morality. The kids should grow up as human beings; instead they are growing up like monsters."

Ashanta Costa, 55, has a son at university. She is worried about his life. She has been afraid of leaving him on his own for quite some time. Now, she wants “punishment for those involved in the Abrar killing.”

Yesterday, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also condemned the murder by activists of her party.

"Beating a man to death is extremely inhumane,” she said. “I can feel the pain of the parents who lost their child. I don’t care about political identity when someone commits a crime. A criminal is a criminal to me. We treat them as criminals.”

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