The female college student who was brutally hacked by a leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League on Monday is in a critical condition, doctors said on Tuesday.
The victim, Khadiza Akhter Nargis, 23, is on life support after a team of specialist surgeons operated on her at Square Hospital in Dhaka, where she was brought in around 9am from Sylhet's MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Dr Rejaus Sattar, associate consultant (neurosurgery) at Square Hospital, said due to the severity of the injuries she sustained, the result of the surgery could not be assessed as yet.
“The patient is on inactive ventilation in life support and will be under observation for 72 hours. Further neurological scans of consciousness signs will dictate the next course of actions,” he added.
Earlier at a press briefing, Dr Mirza Nazimuddin, medical director at Square, said Khadiza sustained critical trauma on her head and arms.
“There are deep gashes on her skull and scans show brain damage. The tendons in both arms have been slashed, probably when she was trying to protect her head,” he said.
Khadiza, an honours second-year student at Sylhet Government Women's College, was attacked on Monday evening by Badrul Alam, fourth-year economics student at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) and a top leader of Chhatra League's SUST wing, while she was on her way back home after taking an exam at Sylhet MC College exam centre.
Locals rescued severely wounded Khadiza and took her to Osmani Medical College Hospital, while others gave Badrul a good beating before handing him over to Shah Paran police station.
The reasons behind the attack could not be known immediately.
[caption id="attachment_19943" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
The red-circled area of the screenshot of a crowdsourced video shows Badrul with a sharp machete hacking at Khadiza[/caption]
Khadiza's uncle Abdul Kuddus told the Dhaka Tribune that he did not know about the assailant before the attack was made public in the media.
Shah Paran police station OC Shahjalal Munshi said the incident might have occurred over a relationship dispute.
“We will take necessary actions once a complaint is filed regarding the matter. Badrul has been admitted in Osmani Hospital under police surveillance.”
Speaking to reporters at his office in the Secretariat on Tuesday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said whoever had attacked or hacked Khadiza would be brought under punishment.
SUST suspends Badrul
The SUST authorities suspended Badrul from the university on Tuesday evening following a meeting of the university proctorial body, SUST Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Aminul Haque Bhuyan told the Dhaka Tribune.
The proctorial body has also formed a three-member committee led by acting proctor Rashed Talukder to investigate the attack.
The committee has been instructed to submit the probe report as soon as possible, said the VC.
BCL claims Badrul isn't a member
The Chhatra League wing at SUST has claimed that it has no affiliation with Badrul Alam.
“Badrul is currently employed at Alhaj Ayazur Rahman High School, and according to the organisation’s charter, job holders cannot remain members of this organisation,” said a press statement issued by Chhatra League on Tuesday evening.
However, sources said Badrul is currently the vice-president of SUST Chhatra League.
Chhatra League's central committee General Secretary Jakir Hossain was seen leaving Osmani Medical College Hospital around 2pm on Tuesday. Asked about the assailant, he claimed that Badrul was not a member of the organisation.
“Chhatra League is not liable for any individual's action, especially by someone who is not a member. We have looked into the incident and have found that he is a job holder. Anyone who is married or working has his or her Chhatra League membership automatically cancelled.”
Outrage in Sylhet
People staged protests against the heinous attack all over Sylhet city on Tuesday, demanding exemplary punishment for Badrul.
Khadiza's classmates in Sylhet Government Women's College have declared a three-day protest programme with a three-point demand.
They gathered in front of their college campus in the city's Chouhatta area around 10:30am and launched a demonstration, demanding death sentence for Badrul.
The other points in their three-point demand are: trial of the case under speedy tribunal and safety for female college students during commute.
The protest programme also includes abstention from classes and exams, placing a memorandum before the deputy commissioner wearing black badges, and staging a protest rally.
The SUST Chhatra League also condemned the attack and demanded punishment for Badrul in their press statement.
They said SUST Chhatra League would stand by Khadiza and her family in this crisis.
Sammilito Sangskritik Jote condemned the attack as well.
Socialist Student Front issued a statement on Tuesday evening condemning the vicious attack and demanding exemplary punishment for Badrul.
They expressed concern over the rise of violence against women everywhere due to a lack of justice and urged everyone to stand united to combat violence against women.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad also issued a statement condemning the attack and demanded that Khadiza gets proper treatment.