Logos of Bangladesh Telephone Regulatory Commission (BTRC) (Left) and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet)
At least 72 complaints were submitted over the past two days, after the murder of Abrar Fahad inside a dormitory
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Wednesday ordered blocking of an online sub-domain page that listed over 150 complaints anonymously made by current and former students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
At least 72 out of 177 complaints regarding violence and abuse were submitted over the past two days, after a student was brutally murdered inside a Buet dormitory. Most of the complaints were made against leaders and activists of the university unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League.
BTRC, via an email, asked all the International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators and internet service providers (ISP) of the country to block the webpage from their networks at earliest time, an operator confirmed Dhaka Tribune.
The screenshot shows the email BTRC sent to IIG operators and ISPs on Wednesday, October 10, 2019 Collected
The email was signed by Engineer Md Asif Wahed, senior assistant director of Systems and Services Division at the telecom regulator. No reason for the decision, however, was given in the email.
A top executive of an IIG operator, requesting anonymity, said they have already taken actions to block the sub-domain page.
Usually, any website or online domain becomes inaccessible from anywhere in Bangladesh if the IIGs and ISPs block them.
The sub-domain page in question was opened under the website of Buet’s computer science and engineering (CSE) department in November 2016 as part of a research, on online-based anonymous reporting system, conducted by then five students. The page was found closed after the BTRC order was issued Wednesday.
The research, conducted in the department’s Next-generation Computing Lab and under Associate Prof ABM Alim Al Islam, was also presented at a symposium in Nairobi, Kenya that month.
The CSE department took charge of the page — named “Towards Making an Anonymous and One-Stop Online Reporting System for Developing Countries” — in 2017.
The screenshot shows the last complaint recorded in the sub-domain page under the website of Buet's CSE department on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Collected
Until last Sunday, before EEE student Abrar Fahad was beaten to death by Chhatra League leaders inside Sher-e-Bangla Hall late between Sunday night and early Monday, there were around 105 complaints regarding academic issues recorded on the page.
Before it was blocked on Wednesday night, however, the number of complaints anonymously submitted by current and former students of the university — mostly regarding violence and abuse by Chhatra League men and senior students on campus — had gone up to 177.
Tarik Reza Toha, now a lecturer of textile machinery design and maintenance in Bangladesh University of Textiles, was one of the five students of Buet’s CSE department who created the sub-domain page. He had also worked as a research assistant at the department later.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Tarik said: “We had created that webpage as part of our academic research. After the research ended, we handed it over to the department for its maintenance and future activities.”
Asked for his opinion on the BTRC’s order to block the webpage, he said: “I have nothing to say about that as it’s not under my authority anymore. You will have to talk to Buet’s CSE department authorities.”