Dhaka University students rally against attacks on teachers in Savar, Narail

Students of Dhaka University have rallied against the harassment of teachers after attacks in Savar and Narail caused a stir on social media.

Dhaka University Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 28 June 2022, 01:24 PM
Updated : 28 June 2022, 07:20 PM

On Tuesday, the students gathered at the altar of the Raju Memorial Sculpture at the campus to call for legal measures against the culprits.

They demanded exemplary punishment of the perpetrators after trial. The protesters also called on the authorities to ensure security for the Hindu community and other minority groups.

A class 10 student fatally struck Utpal Kumar Sarkar, a teacher at Haji Yunus Ali School and College in Savar's Ashulia, with a cricket stump on Jun 25. He succumbed to his injuries two days later.

A video of locals and students putting a garland of shoes around a Hindu college principal's neck after accusing him of belittling Islam in Narail also caused massive outrage. Swapan Kumar Biswas, the principal Mirzapur United College, has since gone into hiding, according to his family.

The angry Muslim locals and students said Swapan attempted to protect a pupil of his faith after the student uploaded a post on Facebook in support of Nupur Sharma, a leader of India's ruling BJP who recently created a controversy with her remarks on Prophet Muhammad.

At Dhaka University, teachers also joined the protests. “When I speak here as a teacher, I don’t feel secure. Even as a teacher at Dhaka University, I feel threatened because I belong to the Hindu community. Each teacher from the community is suffering from a lack of security,” said Professor Mihir Lal Saha, provost of Jagannath Hall.

He said religious harmony can only be achieved after every element of communalism is completely eliminated. “Otherwise, Bangladesh will become another Pakistan or Afghanistan. Now is the time to address the issue and identify the schemers. They should be brought to justice.”

Prof Saha criticised the Dhaka University Teachers Association for their silence on the issue and called for it to take a public stand.

A generation that put a garland of shoes around a teacher’s neck or kills a teacher by hitting him with a cricket stump should face immediate consequences, said Kajol Das, president of Jagannath Hall wing of Bangladesh Chhatra League.

“The young generations who are expected to push Bangladesh forward with their education and research are now addicted to yaba [drugs]. They engage in crimes like torturing their teachers.”

He was also critical of Dhaka University teachers for not speaking out against the recent incidents.

“Teachers are the backbone of our society and today they are getting beaten. We can see that teachers are among the most docile and submissive people these days. They can’t express themselves. They are jailed or lynched for so-called blasphemy. We must protest against this,” said Atanu Burman, general secretary of the Jagannath Hall wing of the Chhatra League.

DHAKA UNIVERSITY TEACHERS CONDEMN HARASSMENT

The Dhaka University Teachers' Association, however, has condemned the humiliation of Swapan and the killing of Utpal in a statement signed by General Secretary Nizamul Hoque Bhuiyan after the protests.

Both incidents show there has been a severe breakdown of social tolerance, the statement said, demanding quick and exemplary punishment for those involved in "such heinous and illegal acts".

A recent indifference and lack of awareness about religion among a certain class of people have damaged the non-communal consciousness of the country and its values, it said.

"We believe that religious intolerance is being stoked in an attempt to hinder the development and progress of the state. A lack of proper social and moral education in some areas has also led to deteriorating relationships between students and teachers."

There is no alternative to teaching students morality at all levels to overcome this situation, the association said in the statement.

It is necessary to bring the new generation out of bigotry, and cultivate tolerance, non-sectarianism and free-thinking so that they can contribute to the development of the country and the nation, while also living a moral life, the association said.

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