Their suspicion amid the rumours of child abduction arose when 42-year-old Renu said she was a resident of Ali Mor in the area, but later admitted she was living at Mohakhali Wireless Gate.
The mother of two had actually been a resident of Badda before the separation with her husband Taslim Hossain two years ago.
She was living at Mohakhali with her 11-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter afterwards.
Witnesses to the horrific incident of last Saturday said no-one was willing to listen to her when the locals, mostly youths who gathered outside on hearing that “an abductor has been caught”, dragged her out of the head teacher's room after breaking down the main gate.
As she was being thrashed at the main gate, onlookers were busy filming the incident.
The teachers called police, but the lead attackers, with some carrying metal rods and spreading panic among the teachers, student and guardians, finished the job without paying heed to what others were saying and before the law enforcers arrived.
Police have arrested seven people, including key suspect ‘Hridoy’, who was seen hitting Renu with a metal stick in videos circulated on social media, over her death.
SUSPICION CREATED TENSIONS
Hasna Begum, a parent in her 30s, was waiting on the school premises as her son was in the class.
Some women asked for Renu’s identity as she was not a familiar face during the assembly of students.
“She once said she had come to hear the national anthem, but later said she had wanted to know whether she could admit her child there,” Hasna said.
“Some guardians did not like her answers as it is the middle of the year,” Hasna said.
Schools in Bangladesh admit students in December or January.
Hasna said later the confusion over her current address was created.
“She tried to tell something else about her address, but no-one wanted to listen to her,” she said.
As tension mounted, she said she wanted to meet the head teacher.
Jannat Begum, an ayah at the school, said some guardians got very angry at the time and tried to beat Renu up, branding her as child abductor.
Some others then took her to the head teacher's room, but the locals haf already started gathering outside.
Head teacher Shahnaz Begum and Assistant Teacher Ziaur Rahman tried to stop the angry mob, but no-one listened to them and started beating Renu after dragging her from the room on the first floor.
Most people in the school with about 750 students from class one to five and 14 teachers did not realise what happened.
“We shut the doors out of panic when the people stormed the premises,” teacher Abdul Gafur Talukder told bdnews24.com.
He also said another teacher he knows has stopped visiting an area he has been assigned to for voter list update out of fear as the locals have grown suspicious.
“Visiting an unknown area has really become a matter of concern,” he said.
Renu is among at least six people killed recently following rumours that “child abductors are on the prowl to collect heads and blood for construction of Padma Bridge” spread on social media, especially Facebook.
Another female teacher in her 50s started sobbing when asked what happened on that day.
“We are very unfortunate to see a mother being beaten to death. We could do nothing against the wave of people,” said the teacher, who requested not to be named.