Family members of slain Prof Rezaul Karim Siddiquee yesterday urged all to remain alert for any propaganda campaign to portray the teacher as an atheist.
Prof Rezaul was very polite and humble, but it seems he was being labelled as a promoter of atheism only for his innocent love for music, they told a mourning meeting at English department of Rajshahi University.
Husne Ara, wife of the slain teacher, called upon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to ensure justice for her husband's murder.
“If you are really a powerful prime minister, trace the real killers immediately and ensure exemplary punishment for them. I want to see justice for the murder before I die,” she said.
Her daughter Rizwana Hasin and son Riasat Imtiaz joined the three-hour meeting at Shahidullah Arts Building.
Unidentified criminals brutally murdered Prof Rezaul in Shalbagan area of Rajshahi city on Saturday.
“My husband was an intellectual. The intellectuals have always been the targets of attacks, but they are too weak to stand up against evil forces,” said Husne Ara.
She requested the teachers and students to remain vigilant so that no quarter can divert focus from the murder case.
“We've reached a stage where getting justice for any crime is very difficult. I am afraid I would not get justice.... What was the crime of my husband? Who will ensure justice for his murder at a time when many other important murder cases like that of Sagor-Runi's remain unresolved?” she questioned.
Prof Rezaul loved God and His creations. He had great love for the nature. He set up a music school and bought it a harmonium. He also bought the village youths cricket gears, added Husne Ara.
Her daughter Rizwana Hasin said if setting up of a music school is a crime to some people, what they would say about Prof Rezaul's contributions to a mosque and a madrasa at his village home.
She broke into tears by recalling the memory of her father. “Perhaps not only I, but the entire department lost a father.”
Prof Rezaul's son Riasat Imtiaz urged all to look into his father's contributions to the mosque and madrasa, sports, culture and local poor people.
RU Vice Chancellor Prof Mizan Uddin said perusing knowledge was Rezaul's main objective. He was capable of taking up important administrative roles, but he was dedicated to the academic activities at the department.
Pro-VC Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan and some English department teachers and students also spoke.
Meanwhile, Rajshahi University Teachers Association (RUTA) yesterday postponed their work abstention for seven days.
Shah Azam Shantunu, general secretary of RUTA, said the teachers would go for a tougher movement if the police fails to make any significant progress in probing the murder case within this period.
Hundreds of teachers and students staged demonstrations on the campus for the third consecutive day yesterday, demanding immediate arrest of the killers. No classes and examinations were held.
Wearing black badges, they brought out a silent procession on the campus at 10:00am. Later, they held a rally in front the Senate Building and formed a human chain on Paris Road.
Expressing their solidarity with the protest programmes, leaders and activists of Kendrio Sangskritik Jote, a platform of 10 cultural organisations of RU, joined the demonstrations.
Bagmara Upazila Education Development Association also formed a human chain in front of the Central Library of RU at 12:30pm, protesting the killing.
Talking to The Daily Star, Prof Sazzad Bokul said the killing of Rezaul sparked panic among the progressive teachers. “Our family members are asking us to stay indoors at night and not to study on the campus at night.”
Senior teacher Abdur Rahman Siddiquee said slain Prof Rezaul was his student.
“The state must take the Rezaul murder case seriously because if it can't ensure security of its citizens like Prof Rezaul, its very existence would be jeopardised,” he added.
PROTEST AT DU
Teachers of Dhaka University yesterday stressed the need for holding the trial of Rezaul murder case in a speedy trial tribunal.
Protesting the killing, over 100 teachers under the banner of Dhaka University Teachers Association (DUTA) formed a human chain in front of the historic Bottola on the campus, reports our DU correspondent.
“It doesn't matter whether Rezaul was an atheist or not. The killers must be tried by a speedy trial tribunal,” said Farid Uddin Ahmed, president of DUTA.
Condemning the killing, he said it is the government's responsibility to ensure people's security.
Maksud Kamal, general secretary of DUTA, said the RU teacher was killed due to the “failure of law enforcers”. A vested group might have entered into the police department, he added.
MINISTER BLAMES MILITANTS
Our staff correspondent adds: Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday told parliament that people involved in the recent killings of bloggers and Prof Rezaul were members of “home grown” militant organisations, not of IS.
Replying to lawmakers' queries, he said those who were arrested in connection with such killings, admitted to law enforcement agencies that they were not involved with the global militant outfit, Islamic State.
The minister claimed the recent killings, including the murders of Italian citizen Tavella Cesare, muajjin of a Shia mosque and the RU professor, were part the militants' actions.
“But our law enforcement agencies have identified all the perpetrators of these killings,” he added.