Bangladesh Development Initiative
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BDI Statement on Seeking Justice for Abrar Fahad

Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a US based research and advocacy group, expresses heartfelt condolences to the family of Abrar Fahad, a second year student at BUET, who was brutally murdered on October 7, 2019.  Abrar was murdered allegedly by fellow students who belonged to the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), who disagreed with his views posted on social media.  By all accounts, Abrar was a promising young man of courage and conviction who was killed simply because he publicly expressed his views on a national issue.  It greatly saddens us that a life full of potential was tragically cut short simply for exercising the right to speak freely, a right guaranteed by the constitution.  Expression of views is a form of political participation in a democracy, and should be encouraged in a healthy civil society.

We strongly believe that incidents of physical and psychological violence must be monitored on the campuses of all institutions of learning. We recommend each university to establish a professional, non-politicized campus security force, one that will work to ensure student safety on campus.  No student should feel threatened by violence, especially in an educational institution, residence hall or anywhere on the campus.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s statement that the killers will face justice no matter their political affiliations, and commend the law enforcement agencies for moving quickly to arrest the alleged killers.  We call upon the police and judicial authorities to identify and prosecute all those who contributed to this crime, not just those caught on camera.  Abrar’s grieving parents, his extended family, friends and fellow citizens deserve no less.  The penalty for those found guilty should be exemplary so serve as a deterrent to future crimes of this nature, since this is not an isolated incident of political violence on a university campus. 

As part of the Bangladesh’s diaspora and the global civil society, we urge leaders in Academia and in Government to address the root causes of lawlessness and the culture of impunity which contributes to such tragedies on campuses.  Bangladesh has much to be proud of given its progress on the economic front, which has brought the nation to the cusp of a Middle Income Nation status.  To move forward, the nation must strive to match its economic progress with progress on the legal, social, political, and cultural front.  We must strive to become a society of laws where the life and liberty of every citizen are protected, and no one is above the law. 

 

Signed by the following BDI members:

Ahrar Ahmed

Ashraf Ali

Ariful Bhuiyan

Farzana Bindu

M. Faizul Islam

Shiba Kar

Farida Khan

Nadine Murshid

Rahim Quazi

Munir Quddus

Elora Shehabuddin

Bakhtear Talukdar