Taking drugs at university dormitories is an open secret, said the students, alleging that many Chhatra League activists are drug addicts
What everybody knows about the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) is that it is the premier engineering university in the country.
But little do people know that it is also a safe haven for drug users, thanks to negligence of the university authorities.
This correspondent talked to at least 30 students and several teachers of the university on Thursday. All of them blamed the university administration for its failure to free the campus from drugs.
Taking drugs at university dormitories is an open secret, said the students, alleging that many Chhatra League activists are drug addicts.
Even general students also get involved in drug abuse under the shelter of Chhatra League activists. Students said Chhatra League members used to bring the drugs inside the campus from nearby Bakshibazar area and sell them to general students.
As a result, students and teachers tasked with overseeing dormitories have to keep silent in fear of wrath of the Chhatra League.
Chhatra League members also wanted to implicate Abrar Fahad, the murdered Buet student, in a drug abuse case after beating him mercilessly, said sources in the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Abrar Fahad was a second-year student of the Buet's electrical and electronic engineering department.
On condition of anonymity, a student from naval architecture and marine engineering department said he was allotted to the Nazrul Islam Hall.
"But, the first day when I moved to the hall I found that other roommates were possessing liquor. While drinking liquor inside the room, they even asked me to drink it with them," he said.
"Following that, I left the room and decided not to stay with them any longer," he said.
He later temporarily stayed at the Titumir Hall, but his family did no longer allow him to stay at the university dormitories.
Another residential student from the Ahsanullah Hall said he had to shift his room due to drug addiction among some of his roommates who were also Chhatra League activists.
"I started staying on the second floor of the hall; after few days, I found my senior roommates drinking liquor and having marijuana inside the room. Then I moved to another room," he further said.
While sharing his horrific experience, a student from civil engineering department told The Business Standard that he was also a victim of substance abuse.
"Senior members of my room forced me to take drugs…After a few months, I realised that I was moving to the wrong direction…then I came back," he said.
A cultural activist, also a student of the Buet, claimed that many students are addicted to liquor, marijuana and yaba.
Taking drugs in groups is an everyday phenomenon inside the dormitories, but the authorities concerned turn a blind eye to the illegal activities, he alleged.
During the ongoing protest demanding justice for Abrar and a ban on student politics on the Buet campus, the students also wanted a drug-free campus.
The agitating students asked how drugs could be available on the campus when the prime minister has instructed the law enforcement agencies to conduct anti-narcotics drive.
Professor Dr AKM Masud, president of Buet Teachers' Association, said the vice chancellor of the Buet has miserably failed to stop the drug abuse on the campus.
Professor Dr Zafar Iqbal, immediate past provost of the Sher-e Bangla Hall, said he could not do anything against narcotics, fearing the wrath of Chhatra League members.
Prof Dr Mohammad Sahhjahan Monal, the provost of the Ahsanullah Hall, also expressed his "helplessness" in stopping drug abuse at the dormitory.
Assistant Commissioner of DMP's Chalkbazar zone Sirajul Islam told The Business Standard that they could not conduct drives at the Buet until they get permission from the university authority.
When contacted, Buet's Chhatra League President Zamius Sani claimed that they did not hear anything about drug abuse on the campus.
"If there is any such thing, it is the responsibility of the university authorities, not ours, to take action," he added.