Affront, not applaud, for a noble act

5 boys given head shave for their protest at stalking
A man has been sentenced to death for killing his father in Balidanga upazila of Thakurgaon in 2010.

Around 10:00am on Saturday, five boys were going to their school in a village of Thakurgaon sadar upazila.

On their way, they saw a class-VII female student of a nearby school being harassed by a 15-year-old local boy, Mohammad Liton.

The five friends protested it and asked Liton, a madrasa student, never to stalk that girl, 13, again.

The next day, the headmaster of the girl's school -- Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar High School -- arranged an arbitration over the harassment. However, at one point, he called a barber and had the heads of the five shaved instead, said those who attended the meeting. 

 The girl and her mother, who was present there, kept saying in vain the boys were innocent, they said.

It is not clear why Headmaster Abdul Jabbar, also a joint convenor of Ruhea Thana BNP and a former union parishad chairman, would do that. 

Talking to this correspondent yesterday, one of the boys -- all class-IX students of Bhelarhat High School -- said they rescued the girl as Liton stopped her and held her hand in Paikarpara village of the upazila. The girl, along with three of her classmates, was on her way to school.

Abdul should have punished Liton but he “shaved our heads instead”, the boy said, adding, the teacher did not “listen to anybody” during the arbitration, attended by two other teachers, parents of the five and office assistants, inside a room of Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar High School in Akhanagar village.

“With our heads shaved, we are so ashamed that we can't get out of our home,” said the boy. 

The girl alleged that Liton had been harassing her on way to school for a long time and that the five were innocent. During the arbitration, Liton remained silent when he was asked whether he harassed her, she said.

Anwarul Islam, elder brother of one of the boys, said Abdul had their heads shaved without any reason. “We want answers for it”.

Wishing not to be named, a school staffer who attended the arbitration said Abdul even roughed up the five when they tried to say they were innocent.

This correspondent called the headmaster several times over his phone but he did not answer. The reporter went to the school yesterday but also did not find him there.

However, talking to another journalist over phone yesterday morning, Abdul said he would not comment on the matter.

Contacted, Rukhshedul Haque Swapan Chowdhury, president of the managing committee of Bhelarhat High School, said two students from Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar High School had recently harassed two female students of Bhelarhat High School on the school premises.

The two boys were caught and when Abdul went there to have them released, a teacher from Bhelarhat High School slapped the two boys in front of the headmaster.

“Abdul might have shaved the heads of our five students to avenge the insult,” Rukhshedul said. 

Liton was not available for comments. Local journalists visited his house yesterday but he was not there.

Upazila Secondary Education Officer Mosharaf Hossain, said, “We will take action after receiving information.”

Prodip Kumar Roy, officer-in-charge of Ruhea Police Station, said, “We are yet to receive any complaint from the school authorities. We will definitely take action if needed.”