Six Rakhine students have stopped going to their school in Patuakhali after a teacher allegedly made a derogatory remark about their religion and asked other students not to befriend them.
Family members of one of the six students have recently submitted a written complaint against Mawlana Afjal Hossain to the Upazila Nirbahi Officer, demanding immediate action against the teacher.
Afjal teaches religious studies at Tulatali High School in Kalapara upazila.
Insiders at the school told The Daily Star that on January 10 Afjal purportedly indicated a Rakhine girl in a grade-IX classroom and said, “You are unholy, your religion is unholy too as you eat foods that are Haram [prohibited] in Islam.”
At one point, he asked the Muslim students not to be friends with the Rakhine pupils, they said.
The kids were having their lesson on Islam and its morals. The girl was sitting there as the school has no separate religious studies class for Rakhine students.
There are six Rakhine kids in the school and none of them have been seen there since the incident, added the insiders.
Mother of the student, who filed the complaint, told The Daily Star that she had informed the headmaster about the incident but he did not take any action against Afjal, prompting her to go to the UNO.
Contacted, Delwar Hossain, the headmaster, said, "I have asked Afjal what happened in the classroom that day and he replied that he just was teaching students about Halal and Haram foods.”
Delwar said he was looking into the matter.
Afjal outright refuted the allegation against him and repeated what he had told the headmaster. He also said he was not aware of any Rakhine student being present in the classroom.
He claimed that it was an “evil” attempt to malign his image.
GM Shahnewaz, officer-in-charge of Kalapara Police Station, said, they had received the complaint from the UNO and recorded it as a general dairy.
The allegation against the teacher was found to be true in the primary interrogation and police would submit a report to the court following further investigation, he added.