Humiliation of teacher: Islamist group comes to MP's defence

HC questions why those responsible should not face legal action

Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat, an Islamist group, has come on the scene apparently to counter the public outrage over the humiliation of a Hindu schoolteacher in Narayanganj.

Several hundred activists of the outfit demonstrated in the district headquarters yesterday afternoon, demanding capital punishment to the teacher for what they said was making anti-Islam comment.

In a show of support for local lawmaker AKM Salim Osman of Jatiya Party, the group also demanded trial and punishment of people “hatching conspiracy” against him.

On Friday, the lawmaker from Narayanganj-5 was seen instructing Shyamal Kanti Bhakta, headmaster of Piyar Sattar Latif High School in Bandar area, to do squats holding ears. Before that, Shaymal was beaten up by a mob.

It was not the end to the teacher's sufferings as the school management committee on Tuesday suspended him on the allegation of demeaning religion.

Now admitted to a local hospital, Shaymal yesterday once again told reporters that he did not say anything defaming religion and that he was attacked in a planned way.

Just before his humiliation, locals on Friday were herded by an announcement through a mosque's loudspeaker that the headmaster while meting out punishment to a class-X student had made derogatory comments against Islam.

Yesterday, Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat held a human chain and demonstration on Chasara Shaheed Minar premises in Narayanganj city.

With Syed Mufti Enayetullah Abbasi in the chair, students of different madrasas addressed the demonstration.

One of the placards participants were carrying read: “Salim Bhai Egiye Cholo, Iman Rakhkhar Sokol Kaje Musalman Achhe Tomar Sathe [Go ahead Selim Bhai; Muslims are with you in efforts to protect faith].”

The group also demanded execution of the “associates and supporters” of Shyamal and threatened to drive them out from Narayanganj if they don't stop “spreading propaganda”.

Tehrik-e-Khatme Nabuwwat had come to the forefront after holding a rally against Ahmadiyyas, a Muslim minority community, in January 2013.

Well-informed sources then told The Daily Star that Jamaat-e-Islami was patronising the group to create unrest in the country in the name of anti-Ahmadiyya movement and keep the administration busy with this. Jamaat was passing through a difficult time because of war crimes trial of its top leaders. 

In another development yesterday, businessmen representing eight national and 35 district-level trade bodies held a press conference at Narayanganj Club Limited Community Centre to protest the “ongoing propaganda” against Salim Osman.

They slammed a section of the media for “partial” news about the incident.

A good number of students from different madrasas also joined the press conference, held at the initiative of Narayanganj Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NCCI).

Salim Osman is president of the NCCI and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, the lawmaker said if he had not acted that way on Friday, there would have been a “communal riot” in Naryanganj.

“Nobody seems to get how I save him [headmaster],” he also said.

The public humiliation of the teacher, his suspension, and the role of the lawmaker sparked huge outcry in the country. From ministers to rights activists to general people demanded trial of those responsible.

Social media users continued campaigning on Facebook and Twitter under hashtags such as #sorrysir, #IamSORRY, #weRSORRYsir and #shyamalkantibhakta.

A High Court bench, on its own, issued a rule yesterday asking the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to take necessary legal action against Salim Osman and others involved in humiliating the teacher.

The HC also directed the superintendent of police of Narayanganj to submit a report before it in three days on the steps taken against the perpetrators.

The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton came up with the order and the rule following media reports.

Supreme Court lawyers MK Rahman and Mohsen Rashid placed before the HC judges the newspaper reports on the incident.  

The home secretary, law secretary, deputy commissioner and superintendent of police of Narayanganj, upazila nirbahi officer concerned and officer-in-charge of Bandar Police Station have been made respondents to the rule, Deputy Attorney General Motahar Hossain Sazu told The Daily Star.

On Tuesday night, an investigation committee under the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education began probing the incident.

Led by Yusuf Ali, director of Dhaka zone directorate of education, the probe body recorded statements of members of the school's governing body, its teachers and students, union parishad chairman and eminent personalities.

“Action will be taken as per the recommendations made by the probe committee,” Education Minister Nahid told reporters at his office yesterday.


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