A day after the brutal murder of Prof Shafiul Islam, his son yesterday blamed radical forces for the killing.
"Religious fanatics have murdered my father," said Soumin Shahrid Javin.
“He was a devoted follower of Baul philosophy. He not only believed in it, he practically lived it. My father would arrange programmes of Baul songs at home and would invite people. Even a professor from India's Kalyani University came and attended such a programme on Tuesday," said the only son of the slain professor.
"He was progressive but never involved in politics. He preached humanism. This is what the radicals like Jamaat-Shibir men did not like and these are the people who killed him," Javin said over the phone from their ancestral home in Gaibandha where his father was buried yesterday.
Prof Shafiul, 48, was hacked to death by unknown assailants near his house in Choddopai area on the outskirts of the city on Saturday.
Hours after the killing a group calling itself Ansar Al Islam Bangladesh-2 claimed responsibility for the murder in a post on its Facebook page.
In Rajshahi, law enforcers detained 20 people, including a local Jamaat-e-Islami leader, in connection with the murder.
Jamaat leader Humayun Kabir, principal of the city's Islamia College, was arrested in Binodpur area. He coordinated many of Jamaat-Shibir's violent activities in Motihar Thana area, said AKM Nahidul Islam, deputy commissioner (East) of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP).
Police did not disclose the identities of the others detained after RU Registrar Prof Entajul Haque filed a murder case with Motihar Police Station.
DC Nahidul said the murder was planned and the detainees were being interrogated.
"Shafiul's faith in Baul philosophy and his close association with bauls might have angered Jamaat-Shibir men and like-minded militant outfits," he said.
On the claims of the so-called Ansar Al Islam Bangladesh-2, Nahidul said police are investigating it. "We have already sent a letter to police headquarters for investigating those web materials."
However, the group's claim might be a ploy to divert attention from the real killers, he suspected. "It may be the case that members of another group have done it but they are trying to pass the blame on to a fabricated outfit."
Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said: "The group might be one of the splinter cells of militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team which carried out many secret killings."
However, echoing Nahidul, he also said the real killers might create the Facebook page to hide themselves.
RU Vice-Chancellor Prof Muhammad Mizanuddin, too, said it was a planned murder.
"The university authorities have asked law enforcers to arrest the killers immediately," he said.
"A GOOD SOUL"
On the Facebook page, Shafiul Islam was termed "murtad" (atheist). The group which claimed the responsibility for the killing, referred to a Daily Sangram report that Shafiul had banned burka in his class when he was the chairman of Sociology department in 2010.
"Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Our Mujahideens today have murdered a murtad [atheist] who had prohibited female students from wearing burka [veil] in classrooms,” says one of the posts on the page.
In a fresh post yesterday, the militant outfit also termed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "murtad" and said Shafiul was a greater "murtad" than Feraun and Hasina.
Shafiul's colleague Prof Mustafijur Rahman, however, said Shafiul never showed any disrespect towards his students' beliefs or attires.
"Shafiul was obsessed with Sufism and the mystical beliefs of Lalon. We've never heard of any student complaining against him. He was loved by all," he said.
PROTESTS AT RU & DU
Outraged by the killing, RU teachers yesterday boycotted classes and examinations while Dhaka university teachers staged demonstrations demanding immediate arrest and exemplary punishment of the killers.
Over a thousand teachers, students and university staffs brought out a silent procession wearing black badges in front of the RU Senate Bhaban at 11:15am.
"We, the teachers, are not safe at all," said Prof Shamsul Alam Sarker.
Demanding immediate arrest of the killers, RU Teachers Association announced that all classes and exams would be boycotted today and tomorrow. They also warned of tougher programmes if law enforcers failed to submit the charge sheet in 15 days.
In a protest rally on the DU campus, Prof Akhter Sultana, chair of Mass Communication and Journalism department, said if the killers went unpunished, such incidents would continue to happen.
Different student organisations brought out processions both on RU and DU campuses, demanding arrest and punishment of the killers.
The Forensic department of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) yesterday submitted Shafiul's autopsy report to the police, calling it a homicide from fatal head injuries.
“We found five fatal injuries in his head and neck from sharp-edged weapons," said Assistant Prof Jubaidur Rahman of the RMCH.
3 RU TEACHERS KILLED
IN A DECADE
With Prof Shafiul, three RU teachers were killed in the last ten years.
Muhammad Yunus, a professor of Economics, was killed at Binodpur on December 24, 2004. On January 28, 2010, a lower court sentenced two JMB men to death in the case.
On February 1, 2006, Prof Sheikh Taher Ahmed, 59, of Geology and Mining department was murdered inside his residence on the campus. A Rajshahi speedy trial tribunal awarded death penalty to four people, including a pro Jamaat-e-Islami teacher Mia Mohammad Moinuddin of the university, in May 2008 for the killing.