Swapan Kumar Biswas, acting principal of Mirzapur United Degree College in Narail, has said people’s support helped him regain his strength to live after he was humiliated publicly on charges of hurting Islamic sentiments one and a half months ago.
In an interview with bdnews24.com on Thursday, a day after he returned to the college, he said he has “put the pain behind him” and was planning to catch up on the students’ lost study time.
"I was depressed by the incident that day. I was in the middle of life and death. But when I saw the conscientious educated society across the country came out in my support, took to the street for me in different places, I forgot the pain and regained the strength to live.”
The incident took place in the wake of a post on Facebook by a Hindu student who had shared a photo of Indian BJP leader Nupur Sharma, who has been criticised for her remarks on Prophet Muhammad.
According to locals, some Muslim students asked the Hindu student to delete the post after he had gone to college.
Tension mounted when rumours spread that Swapan took the Hindu student's side. Angry Muslim locals and students set the motorcycles of the principal and two teachers on fire. The mob also clashed with the police.
The college was declared closed on that day. Swapan had not been staying at home since the incident. The college reopened partially on Jul 24.
Apart from the local public representatives, police, National University officials and college governing body members welcomed him with a garland of flowers on Wednesday.
"Since the college has been closed for some time, the students have missed many lessons. I discussed with the teachers what to do for this and made plans. Colleagues have cooperated with me sincerely. I hope everything goes well," Swapan said.
His house is in Barakula village in the district, a little away from the college.
"I have been in the college area for 35 years. There wasn't a day when I didn't go to the market in this area. But I haven't been able to come to the area since that incident. I can't express how painful it was for me.
“Since the incident, I have stayed at the places of my friends and relatives. Sometimes I only went home for 10 minutes. It feels great to be back on my beloved campus today.”
“The students are like my children. I'll talk to them. I will make arrangements to make up for the lost time they have suffered in these few days.”
Swapan said he would take the initiative to bring the college under security camera surveillance in consultation with the locals and parents.
“The position of the college principal, not I, was humiliated. Anyway, I want to forget everything and move on with everyone.
“Our local MP brought me to college in his car. Officials of the National University and dignitaries of the area were present. Hopefully, there will be no more problems in the future.”
“We could not accept what happened to the principal on the college campus that day. Together we brought the principal back with respect. It has been possible to bring back to some extent the lost glory of the non-communal spirit of the people of Narail,” said BM Kabirul Haque Mukti, MP from Narail-1 constituency.
Police have so far arrested nine suspects amid nationwide protests and condemnation. Four of them are students of the college.
The Hindu student who shared the photo of Nupur Sharma on Facebook was also arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments.
Investigation of the incident is ongoing, said Narail Police Station chief Mahmudur Rahman.