"What followed horrified us beyond our wildest imaginations": an eyewitness account of the Bangladesh student protests
Publisher: Global Voices
Date Written: 08/08/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22943
Like other high school students, Abdul Karim Rajib, 18, and Dia Khanam Mim, 17 had many hopes and dreams for their lives. One had hoped to become an army officer, the other, a banker. On July 29, 2018, around noon, the two teenagers were killed in the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, by three buses speeding against each other for no reason other than to arrive first and cram as many passengers into their already overcrowded interiors, for maximum profit.
Even more terrifying are the unconfirmed reports--largely from images on social media--of the alleged murder of at least four students and the rape of four female students by the BCL. There were also reports circulating about the BCL having taken students hostage, and one unconfirmed report that a victim's eyes had been gouged out. A fact-checking community in Facebook called Jaachai (fact-check) pointed out that although the reports of beatings and clashes etc. are true, many images circulating with claims of killings are fake. According to the UK Guardian, police detained a Bangladeshi actor "for spreading rumors after he allegedly said in a Facebook post that two protesters had been killed and another had had an eye gouged out."
The government response to the reports of violence was swift. A press conference was called in a matter of hours denying that these horrific events had taken place or that anyone was being held hostage in BCL compounds. One BCL spokesperson who claimed he played no part in the violence had been photographed at the protests engaged in the very acts he denied carrying out. And the "student representative" who spoke at the press conference was revealed in photos to be a member of the BCL wearing a school uniform.