The following is a Facebook status update shared publicly with the intention of spreading the news about a rather frustrating incident that took place in Dhaka University premises on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014. Her entire status has been quoted below. #Dhaka has reached out to the victim for further information on the issue. Some editing has been done to the post below to fix a few minor misspelling.
“My sister Saba is visiting from Canada after 2.5 years. She was a student of IBA, Dhaka University. We were in the area yesterday, so she wanted to take a rickshaw ride around the premises of her old school. With us was our uncle Imtiaz Alam Beg, a renowned photographer and the principal of Begart Institute of Photography. Curzon hall used to be my sister and her friends’ usual hangout spot. My uncle Imtiaz often brings his students here for field assignments. My mother, also a student of Dhaka University always spoke of Curzon hall with a lot of fondness and told us how she and her friends would walk home through Curzon hall after dark for it was the safest route. This was in the 60s.”
I am thankful that these goons werent armed. I am thankful that my uncle was not stabbed. I am thankful that my sister was not raped. THIS is what we have been reduced to. We are simply grateful to be alive.
“At around 4 PM yesterday, Saba, Imtiaz and I were sitting by the pond at Curzon Hall following our rickshaw ride around the campus. 4 young men approached us and asked Imtiaz if we were students of the University. He said no. They then asked if this looked like a “hangout” spot. Before he or we could answer, one guy threw a punch at Imtiaz and then all 4 started beating him up mercilessly. Saba and I jumped to save him, but then they ganged up on my sister, threw her to the ground and started kicking her. 4 men were kicking my baby sister infront of me. There were other students and visitors in the location. Watching. We were screaming for help, but no one came forward. Imtiaz’s face was covered with blood. My sister was on the ground with her kamiz torn. What could not have been more than 3-4 minutes, felt like an eternity.”
“We rushed Imtiaz to the hospital where he received 6 stiches and then went to my aunt Sharmeen Murdhid’s office in Dhanmondi for help. From there, we went to the Shahbagh Thana and filed a case in presence of some of our friends from the media. A clip from today’s Prothom Alo revealed that our attackers were students of Shahidullah Hall.”
“I am thankful that these goons werent armed. I am thankful that my uncle was not stabbed. I am thankful that my sister was not raped. THIS is what we have been reduced to. We are simply grateful to be alive.”
“We will be meeting with the VC of Dhaka University today. We will do everything that the legal system requires us to do, but I would also like to call upon every single friend in my list to join us in a movement to save our beloved Dhaka University from these thugs.”
“We choose to live in Dhaka because we love this city. I share this post because I refuse to live in despair. I refuse to believe that watching 4 men kicking a young woman is something we have to get used to. I refuse to believe that all who stood there and watched represent who we are as people.”
For anyone living in Dhaka and keeping up with the newspapers, it is no breaking news that such incidents of snatching, random beating by gang and other incidents of harassment have alarmingly increased in the city streets over the past couple of months. Such incidents rose around the early days of Eid-ul-Fitr this year and has continued to take place.
It is time for our city cops to take measures to ensure our safety in our very own city streets, even in areas like Dhaka University where one is supposed to be safe and secure. Because perpetrators like the four men from yesterday can be anywhere. Just being [still unconfirmed, assumed to be] students of the country’s highest prestigious institute does not automatically make people good.
This post will be updated with any development following the incidents yesterday.
Do you feel safe in the streets of Dhaka?