Ragging in the dormitories of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) had been going on for a long time and many victim students became depressed and mentally imbalanced, probes have revealed.
The academic life of the students was badly affected due to ragging, said three probe committees, which were formed by the university to investigate into such incidents at Ahsanullah Hall, Suhrawardy Hall and Titumir Hall.
“We had been surprised and shocked to hear the statements of the victims,” said a member of an investigation committee wishing not to be named.
He said the committee members talked to some victims from the three halls.
The three committees, which were set up last month following the murder of Buet student Abrar Fahad, submitted their reports to the vice chancellor of the university last week. The reports were reviewed by the Board of Residence and Discipline Committee.
The Board took action based on reports on the students of two halls and asked the other probe committee to reinvestigate the ragging incidents at Titumir Hall.
Asked about the observations of the probe bodies, Prof Mizanur Rahman, director of the Directorate of Students’ Welfare of Buet, refused to comment on the issue.
“I will not name the members of the probe committees either. The Buet always maintains secrecy in this regard. The committee members may face pressure from different quarters if their names are disclosed,” he told The Daily Star.
The issue of ragging and torture of students came to the fore after Abrar, a second-year student of electrical and electronic engineering, was beaten to death allegedly by some Chhatra League leaders and activists at Sher-e-Bangla Hall last month.
After the murder, Buet students staged demonstrations and placed several demands before the authorities. The demands include expulsion of those involved in torturing students in the name of “ragging” and “suppressing dissent”. They also demanded expulsion of students involved in such incidents at Ahsanullah Hall and Suhrawardy Hall by October 11.
Talking to this newspaper, another probe committee member said they found that ragging was basically a tool for recruitment of a few students to student organisations. Those who were abused badly would get involved in student politics within about a year, he added.
“Some students thought that if they joined a student front, they would gain power and other students would be scared of them.”
He said they found that if any victim lodged a complaint with his department about ragging, he would be tortured again.
OBSERVATIONS OF PROBE BODIES
The investigation committees observed that a few students, who created terror at the dormitories, had tortured students in a planned way, said a member of a probe body.
They said those involved in ragging students preferred roofs and rooms of dormitories to other places for ragging students and used those as “torture cells”.
The Board of Residence and Discipline Committee on Thursday suspended nine students from the university for their involvement in ragging fellow students at Suhrawardy Hall and Ahsanullah Hall.
Six students of Ahsan Ullah Hall and three of Suhrawardy Hall were suspended from academic and other activities for different tenures, and were also expelled from their respective dormitories.
The Board also suspended 21 other students from their respective halls for different periods on the same charges and warned them against any recurrence of such incidents.
On November 21, the Buet authorities expelled 26 students over their involvement in the Abrar murder. Most of them are now behind bars.