On 29th July, Bangladeshi students’ started their non-violent protests voicing their grievances against the safety of the roads, after a road accident in Dhaka that left two Bangladeshi students dead. They immediately faced immense police brutalities and violence.
The mass protest seems to have come to an end after the meeting between the outraged students and port city deputy commissioner, Mohammad Elias Hossain, around 4:30 p.m.
The peaceful student protests demanding the safety of roads were not only sanctioned and violated by the Bangladeshi police and other state institutions, but also by right wing organizations like the Bangladesh Chhatra League and other pro-government groups.
Just as thousands of outraged school and college students laid siege to the streets of the National Capital, they faced a complete media blackout. The government also crippled mobile services, forbidding the local coverage of the protests. However, the students managed to grab a significant amount of world attention after accessing social media through proxy and virtual private network – commonly known as the VPN.
However, by then, many students had already been raped and killed, while over 150 were injured. Many male students decided to be human shields for the female protesters after the rapes of female students were reported.
The turn of such unfortunate events has confused the world. Here is what is happening in Bangladesh:
On 29th July, students’ protest began soon after two college students, Dia Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib, were killed in a road crash in the capital’s Kurmitola area. The students not only protested against the killings but also against the transport system of Bangladesh, which is ‘immensely corrupt, unregulated and dangerous’. Written testimonies and brief overviews were shared on social media, making people around the world aware of the reasons and the consequences of the protests.
Twitter was full of updates by local students.
Now they are with some new plans. They attacked some of our big Private Universities like-East West University, North South University and Ahansanullah University. They are even beating womens. We need help. What is the emergency number of the world?Please retweet. #WeWantJustice pic.twitter.com/Oz5KPNkXxY
— Sifat Hossain (@sifat70) August 6, 2018
Photojournalists were attacked and activists arrested after reporting and documenting the rapes and other atrocities. Today, on August 6, outraged students reportedly met the deputy commissioner, Mohammad Elias Hossain. The DC office said in a statement, “The district administration will try to fulfill the demands of students as many as possible in collaboration with the Chittagong City Corporation and other local administrations. The rest will be forwarded to the government for implementation.”
— Nuhash Ahmed (@Nuuhash) August 6, 2018
The Bangladeshi prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, urged students to go home as police fired teargas during the eighth day of protests.
Many students are now reiterating their grievances against the Bangladeshi transport system, and continue to demand justice.