12:00 AM, January 06, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 06, 2012

Human Chain for Kamal Majumder

School children forced to join

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Rashidul Hasan

1. Kamal Ahmed Majumder MP forced students and teachers of Monipur School and College and two other schools to join a human chain programme on this road in the city yesterday to 'protest conspiracy' against the lawmaker.
2. Panicky children are trying to get on their school van.
3. Some outsiders (children) also join the human chain.
4. Guardians with their children leaving the school in a state of panic . Photo: Palash Khan

Ruling Awami League lawmaker Kamal Ahmed Majumder yesterday forced hundreds of students and teachers of Monipur and two other high schools to line up along a city street to protest "a conspiracy against him".
The children were seen being dragged out of their school vans to join a quarter kilometre-long human chain from Shewrapara to Mirpur-10 intersection.
The act of the member of parliament created huge panic among students and guardians.
On Monday, Kamal Ahmed assaulted a female journalist and a videographer of private television channel Rtv when they went to Monipur school in Mirpur to enquire about an allegation that the institution was charging much higher fees for admission than that the government had fixed.
Such behaviour of a people's representative drew huge flak from different sections of society, especially the media.
Following news reports on the incident, Kamal Ahmed, also president of Monipur High School and College management committee, instructed the authorities of different schools in Shewrapara area to form the human chain protesting a "conspiracy" against him and Monipur school.
Meanwhile, around 2:00pm yesterday, many worried guardians were seen rushing to the demonstration spot to pick up their children hearing about the news of the human chain.
Some severely annoyed mothers were found storming out of the school with their children disapproving of the decision of making their children stand along the road under the sun.
According to students of Monipur school, they were first lined up inside the school compound.
"But as the entrance was opened to have the children taken to the demonstration, some guardians rushed into the school and took their children home," said a student who managed to avoid the programme.
Some teachers and the lawmaker's supporters were seen dragging children out of school vans. The Daily Star witnessed several men of lawmaker Kamal Ahmed exchanging heated words with van drivers over pulling out children from the vans and taking them to the human chain.
The Daily Star spoke to at least 50 students at the human chain and not one of them could tell why they were kept standing there for an hour.
Around 3:00pm, father of a class-III student told The Daily Star, "About an hour ago the driver of the school van informed me over the telephone that he could not bring my child home as the school authorities prevented him from doing so. So I rushed to Shewrapara from my office and found my son standing along the road pale and starving."
"I found many other parents doing the same," he added.
Father of a class-IV student said his child does not know the way home from Shewrapara ; so he had to go and pick up his child.
"I don't think the teachers of these schools care much about their students. Who would have taken the responsibility had my child got lost?" he added.
Asked why they had taken part in the programme with students, a teacher of Alim Uddin School said the president of their school management committee instructed the principal to ensure participation of teachers and students in the demonstration.
"We were forced to attend the human chain," said the teacher wishing anonymity.
A notice issued by the principals of the three schools that participated in the human chain was found on the notice boards of the institutions that requested students and parents to attend the human chain to protest propaganda against Monipur school.
However, many students of the schools told The Daily Star that it was neither a request nor an option, mandatory rather.
Over 300 confused residents of Shewrapara were also found taking part in the human chain with absolutely no idea about what they were doing there.
“I don't know why we are here. Munna bhai [an aide to Kamal Majumder] brought us--over 100 people--here perhaps for a meeting,” said Rakib, a resident of Mollapara.
Rakib was holding a placard that demanded punishment to those who "conspired" against Kamal Majumder. Asked, he, however, said he did not know what was written in the banner or who those "conspirators" were.

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