The most barbaric incident that occurred at Chittagong University in mid-July (brutal torture of a female student and videotaping of her stripping) has shaken our collective conscience. Undoubtedly, violence against women and sexual assault are pervasive across the country, with the vast majority of incidents going unreported and unpunished. The manner in which some students brutally tortured a female student at the university campus, the subsequent attempts to cover it up, and the speed with which the perpetrators were apprehended in the face of the movement demonstrate that not all tortures are prosecuted and that it is not impossible for the administration or law enforcement to apprehend and bring the perpetrators to justice. Where then is the barrier? Events can be deduced from tradition; on the one hand, apprehension, post-complaint security, custom, and public shaming in the case of litigants; on the other hand, political favoritism for criminals, a love of power, and a fear of administration.
In any educational institution, all spheres of education, sports, entertainment, and movement must be accessible, safe, and free for everyone, including students and teachers. However, it is not always the case. This has been demonstrated at the nation's premier educational institution in the southeast. Based on recent occurrences, it is possible that such heinous incidents are occurring more frequently. Because there is not always such a positive response in favor of justice, many individuals do not urge or have the courage to seek it. If all tortures were prosecuted at the appropriate time, perverse crimes like this one may not have occurred. It is truly inconceivable that university students would commit such a heinous and abhorrent crime.
There was once a time when college-university students were revered, trusted, and believed in. For all wrongs and injustices, mass people used to expect their participation; they are the nation's future. Now, however, the reality is the exact opposite. The majority of the population has a negative opinion of college and university students. A subset of college-university students, particularly male ones, have frequently been associated with misdeeds such as conflict, theft, robbery, drug addiction, violence against women, and even rape, which has led to a negative shift in the public's perception of the student community as a whole.
Not only females or students, but also teachers, the administration of educational institutions, and even their own families, are powerless in the face of scoundrels using student names. Only the big brothers (political "big brothers" or leaders) are listened to. Consequently, it can be observed that some (irregular) students approach the department or related office with requests regarding the examination times of some (irregular) students (those who do not attend classes at all or fail repeatedly), opportunities to participate in exams, opportunities for special exams, etc. Even if they are unable to facilitate the department, they use their political connection to avail the opportunity for examination through other offices at the administration. If a student fails twice instead of once, a special examination may be scheduled. In other words, if they are guilty of illegal activities in the department or related office, they consistently get away with exercising political power. Consequently, everyone is not required to follow the set rules. Thus, gradually, disobedience or the practice of irregularity has become a source of power or credit for some students.
This terrible disease cannot be allowed to persist. It is hoped that the current case will be brought to justice as a result of the national outrage; however, it cannot be stated that the situation at the university will be safe for everyone or that the campus will be devoid of criminals. However, it is not completely impossible. In order to achieve this, university authority must demonstrate determination and courage to keep the university's environment conducive to education and in line with its educational mission. Authorities must engage in productive dialogue and discussion with university students, parents, officers, and employees.
All areas of education should be utilized positively in universities for the purpose of fostering the human development of students in a fair environment. If democratic exercises, accountability, educational environment, free education, entertainment, debate, sports, cultural activities, and the workplace are properly practices in all areas, and if the campus is moving in the right direction, then perhaps these heinous occurrences will decrease.
In addition to ensuring appropriate and exemplary justice, it must be ensured that the children and students are on the right path. It is the responsibility of families, educators, politicians, university authority, and administration. We are aware of the leadership role of educators. Due to the widespread social derogation of teachers in recent years, teachers today are hesitant to rule as they once did. However, teachers must maintain a firm stance on the issue of responsibility, which has become a rarity in today's society. It is important to remember that the decline of one sector of society closely correlates with the plunge of another. Therefore, the existing problem should be viewed from a holistic standpoint, as opposed to in isolation. Who will do? This is currently the central question- while money and power are currently more important than the equitable growth of society.
In this incident at Chittagong University, it is evident that almost all of the accused live in the university's residential area, while their family members (breed-winners, fathers) are university employees. Once upon a time, the children of numerous officials and employees were highly educated; many of them became university teachers. All affected parties involved should now consider why the situation has deteriorated.
Families have a crucial role to play in guiding children down the right path. As a result of the Chittagong University incident, family, officials must monitor what children do with their education, where they go, who they associate with, etc. Need to educate in good education and provide morality- to learn about people as human being and to respect all men and women accordingly. However, it is commonly reported that after graduating from intermediate college, many children (especially boys) do not obey their parents; puts pressure on the family for a mobile phone or motorbike. In order to maintain family harmony, you are compelled to comply with their demands, but the results are typically unpleasant. Families, university administrators, local politicians (especially the government party men), and law enforcement must engage in dialogue and take concerted action to resolve the issues.
In the current context of Bangladesh, it is undeniable that national and regional politics play a significant role in shaping society and shaping the minds of students. If the leaders and activists of a student organizations engage in misdeeds or associate themselves with undesirable incidents, the support of the common people of the country will go against the political party in question. The political parties may lose the public confidence. Moreover, why should those who are supposed to serve the people through politics provide support and shelter to heinous criminals and their associates? Politics should be about the welfare of people, not their peril. Political parties ought to consider this-if they really mean politics for the people.
The perpetrators of the heinous crime at the Chittagong University campus discussed thus far have been arrested and brought to justice, to the credit of the university administration and law enforcement. Still, exemplary punishment is inevitable. By proving this incident, it was possible to prosecute the accused for prior crimes. In the future, hopefully, there will be no more negligence; the law will proceed at its own pace. All crimes must be prosecuted fairly for crime reduction and fear-free education to be possible. On no account is indifference, neglect, or compromise in matters of judgment expected. According to the High Court's directives, the university's anti-sexual harassment committee should be effective and awareness should be raised in order to end sexual harassment. All obstacles must be removed for victims of persecution to seek and obtain justice. A friendly and conducive environment should be provided for education. To create a favorable and education-friendly environment, it is essential to take steps to reduce the dominance of politics at educational institutes, in addition to ensuring that all educational facilities are active and effective.
In light of recent heinous crimes, social unrest, and the general deterioration of society, everyone in a position of power and responsibility should step up and do their part to help end intolerance and violence as soon as possible. The university administration should take the initiative to ensure a fair environment. To end of the unexpected crimes, collective actions are required. Let's hope that such brutal incidents never occurs again in our beloved campus.
Professor Dr. Ala Uddin, Department of Anthropology, University of Chittagong. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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