An agenda to dismantle secular, inclusive education
The Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday said the "hijra/transgender" controversy in the textbook serves as a camouflage for a hidden agenda to dismantle secular and inclusive education in the country.
At a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity, they termed the act of tearing up the textbook page by a teacher unconstitutional, saying that the activities that followed the tearing up incident are a threat to Bangladesh's existence, and demanded punishment for the instigators.
Shahriar Kabir, president of the organisation, said, "The new curriculum is very contemporary, but the religious extremists don't like it. Their goal is to create anarchy by making it a focal point."
"We urge the government not to yield to this community and make any change to the content of the book," he added.
Students and teachers of all universities should come forward and protest against the ill intentions of this group, said Shahriar Kabir.
Prof Muntassir Mamoon expressed shock at the "shameful" acts of the teacher, saying, "A teacher should not act in such a manner; it sets a harmful and bad example for future society."
Previously, on many occasions, the government was seen bowing down to this community and catering to their interests. Prof Mamoon said such weakness undermines secularism.
Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik said, "Our constitution prioritised gender equality and their rights. But the way a teacher tore the pages of a textbook and misled the content of the book is a violation of constitution."
He should be arrested immediately for such an act, Shamsuddin added.
He also urged university authorities to recruit teachers after proper verification.
Prof Mahfuza Khanam said the new curriculum's contents reflect the constitution properly. "So whatever it takes, we need to implement this curriculum to build a secular nation," she said.
Educationist Momtaz Latif echoed her and said, "We recently saw many people from the third gender community setting examples of good deeds in society."
The content in "Sharifa's Tale" in the textbook contains their story to teach students to respect this community like other citizens, she added.