12:17 AM, April 24, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:01 AM, April 24, 2013

DU teacher offers to be in jail

In protest at minority attacks

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Staff Correspondent

DU teacher offers to be in jail

At a time when many countrymen have turned into silent spectators of the current political confrontation, a professor at Dhaka University has decided to embrace imprisonment to protest the flared-up violence against religious minorities.
Totally disappointed at the state's utter apathy to stop the violence, Kajal Bandyopadhyaya, 59, a teacher of the English department, has chosen the path.
"On Monday, pagodas in Boalkhali and Patia came under attack. Before that, a two-century-old temple in Rajair had also been set on fire. I do not think the authorities have taken proper steps to address the issue," he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bandyopadhyaya, also a presidium member of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council,  said since an International Crimes Tribunal had sentenced a war criminal to capital punishment for crimes against humanity on February 28, attacks on Hindu and Buddhist interests, temples and houses had become a regular phenomenon.
"Almost every day, attacks are taking place. The situation has become worse since main opposition BNP sided with the attackers," he said.
The academician thinks the perception that any decline in the number of minority population would benefit them [the opposition] in the voting politics worked behind the BNP stance.
Likewise, the roles of the ruling party and the government have also frustrated the professor.
"We hoped the prime minister would at least visit one locality and explain her stance and give orders [to bring an end to the attacks]. But it has not happened," he said, adding that self-sacrifice was the ultimate instrument to bring an end to all these.
"This will be our peaceful protest against the mayhem. I have talked to some of my friends and students. They are also ready to follow the path," he continued, "We hope the action will help politicians realise what they need to do."
Bandyopadhyaya said his initiative would also be a test for the intellectuals, who believe in secularism.
Meanwhile, a lawyer said there was no legal provision for self-imprisonment.

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