Abrar Fahad’s mother clearly remembers the day he was born.
It was a foggy Thursday in 1998.
“The first time we celebrated his birthday was when he was admitted to school at 5,” recalled his mother Rokeya Khatun.
For these past few years, things have been different since her son was in Dhaka for studies. “I used to call him over phone on his birthdays and wished him since he was away from home,” she said, staring at her handset in silence.
She had no-one to call on Wednesday, when her son would have turned 22.
Abrar Fahad, a second-year student at Bangladesh’s top engineering university Buet, was murdered on October 7 allegedly by former Bangladesh Chhatra League leaders. His killing sparked massive outrage across the country and led to a ban on organisational student politics on the elite engineering university campus.
Buet expelled 26 students for their alleged involvement in the Abrar Fahad murder. Of them, police have pressed charges against 25 in the murder case.
Wednesday, which could have been a joyous occasion for his family, was completely different this year. The pain of losing a family member is just too strong.
Her younger son Abrar Faiyaz said his brother’s birthday had always been a joyous occasion for the family but not anymore. There was no arrangement but a special prayer was offered at a local mosque seeking eternal salvation of the departed soul.
”All I can do now is to cry. There is no-one I call,” Rokeya said, as tears welled up in her eyes.
Recently, an unidentified man reportedly called her over phone and asked her to contact the relatives of the murder case accused. She said they would not compromise with the killers.
Abrar Fahad’s father, Barkatullah, said some people are spreading false information about his son and other family members.
“We’re waiting for justice,” he said.