Eyewitnesses told the BBC that Abrar Fahad, an undergraduate in Bangladesh, was killed Sunday in his dorm after criticizing the government online.
The classmates said that Abrar Fahad was taken from his room at about 20:00 (14:00 GMT) and beaten for at least four hours.
The doctor who performed the autopsy on 21-year-old Fahad confirmed to the BBC that he was severely bruised.
Fahad studied at the Bangladesh Engineering University (Buet) in Dhaka.
Several members of the Bangladeshi Dhethera League (BCL)-the ruling Awami League youth team-have been detained for death.
The BCL has been widely accused of using torture and extortion against students.
CCTV footage from Farhad’s dormitory showed several men carrying the victims’ bodies. Police detained nine men from the dormitory, including at least five BCL activists.
Police said that the number of arrests had increased to 13 by Tuesday, all from Buett, and that six other suspects were in the hunt.
Munstasirul Islam, deputy police chief of Dhaka city, confirmed that the student was beaten to death.
Dr. Sohel Mahmud, head of the forensic department of the affiliated hospital of Dhaka Medical College, examined Fahd’s body and told the BBC: “He has a lot of blunt injuries. We think he died of a blunt attack.”
Local media quoted BCL members as saying that Fahad was “questioned” and beaten for alleged links with the Islamic Party. Prior to this, Abrar Fahad published an article on social media criticizing the government’s water-sharing agreement with India.
In a statement, BCL said that after conducting an investigation, BCL expelled 11 members of its Buet division, bdnews24.com reported.
‘Please take me to the hospital’
A Buet student who spoke to the BBC but did not want to be named for fear of reprisals said they had seen Fahad alive at 02:00 in a room where Abrar Fahad had been beaten.
“I saw Abrar in room 2005, he was still alive… With help from some junior students I carried Abrar downstairs. He was still alive and he was saying, ‘Please take me to the hospital quickly.'”
Another student who arrived at the scene said several students had gathered with the assistant provost of the dormitory to urge him to take action, when members of the BCL started banging on the door, attempting to gain entry.
News of the death has led to protests in Dhaka and other cities on Monday. Students in the capital shouted slogans to block the road. Protests continued on Tuesday, and Buet’s students demanded death sentences for those convicted of homicide.
Former students and teaching staff also participated in demonstrations on the Buet campus. The massacre shocked Bangladesh and illuminated the culture of violence in public universities.
Abrar Fahad killer suspect arrested
According to Bangladesh website bdnews24.com, AKM Masud, chairman of the Buet Teachers Association, said: “It is totally unacceptable for students to be tortured and killed in their dormitories.”
“The death of Abrar Fahad proves that the authorities did not ensure the safety of the students at all.”
Where violence and torture are common
Analysis by Mir Sabbir, BBC Bengali, Dhaka
The torture of students student wing of the ruling party in public university is nothing new. New students are often forced to attend meetings and assemblies just to be able to live in a dormitory. It is common to assault and bully people who disagree or disdain leaders.
When school students taking part in the 2018 road safety protests were beaten by unknown attackers in helmets, BCL activists were widely blamed.
That same year, BCL supporters attacked protesting students at Rajshahi University, and a photo of one of the victims being beaten with a hammer as a show of rage was on social media.
Political parties have long used student wings as muscles. Although parties are not allowed to have formal student groups, it is undeniable that they exist.
Now, even senior leaders of the Awami League have told the BBC Bangla that it is time to reconsider whether such politics should be supported. Many people in Bangladesh have the same view, especially parents who dream of sending their children to Buett someday.
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