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5 December, 2018 12:11:12 AM

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Teacher suspended amid student demo

HC forms 5-strong probe body
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Teacher suspended amid student demo
Students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, aggrieved by the suicide of one of their fellows, vent anger on the school’s Bailey Road branch authorities in the capital yesterday when Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid (left) tried to pacify them with assurance of justice. Focus Bangla Photo

Hundreds of students of Viqarunnisa School and College in the capital yesterday staged a demonstration in front of their institution, protesting against the suicide of a fellow student. Chanting slogans like "we demand justice"’, "we want resignation of the governing body", "we want punishment of the principal", the students, along with their guardians, called for suspension of the morning shift in-charge, Zinnat Ara, and a fair investigation into the suicide of a ninth-grade student.

The institution authorities served a show-cause notice on Zinnat Ara and ordered her to refrain from duties.

The school governing body president, Golam Ashraf Talukder, told journalists: “Zinnat Ara was suspended on Monday night. A show-cause notice has been served on her, asking why action should not be taken against her. She has been asked to reply within seven days. The governing body will take action based on her response.”

He also said that the governing body had asked the principal, Nazneen Ferdous, to explain the incident. The education ministry and the institution authorities have formed separate committees to investigate the incident. The High Court (HC) also formed a five-member committee, led by an additional secretary to the education ministry, to investigate the matter. Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid visited the institution at Bailey Road and were obstructed by the students and guardians. Assuring the agitated students of justice, he announced a three-member probe body to bring the person responsible to justice.

Nazneen Ferdous announced the other body, consisting of two guardians and a teacher, and asked it to submit the report within three days. The principal told the media: “Action will be taken against anyone found guilty.” The agitating students demanded removal of the principal Nazneen Ferdous, alleging that calling the victim’s parents and insulting her in front of them is the main reason for the suicide. However, Nazneen rejected the allegation before the media.

Condemning the incident, Nahid told the media: “How much pain and insult induced the student to take her life by hanging. Corporal and mental punishment is not at all acceptable. Persons responsible will be punished,” he added.

Victim’s family sources said the school authorities called her parents on Monday to let them know that their daughter used a mobile phone during tests for unfair means.

The authorities had even spoken of preventing her from sitting in this year's annual tests and issuing a transfer certificate, said her father Dilip Adhikari.

"At around 12:30pm, she shut the door of her room at their house in Shantinagar, and hanged herself from the ceiling fan with a scarf after being insulted before us by the school authorities," he added.

Her family members broke open the door and took her to a local hospital. But she was later taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where  doctors pronounced her dead at around 4:00pm.

The agitating students said they would continue their demonstration on Wednesday too and placed a three-point demand - ensure justice within three days, suspend all classes and exams, and sit-in in front of the main gate of the institution.

Guardians who joined the students’ agitation, demanded a fair investigation into the incident, removal of the principal and governing body members and ensuring accountability of the institution.

Siddique Nasir Uddin, a guardian, said: “We don’t want to lose any of our children in this manner. The school authorities should treat with students like guardians.”

Meanwhile, the High Court formed the five-member committee and directed the authorities concerned to include a legal expert, a psychologist, an educationalist and a representative from the social welfare ministry in the committee.

The court asked the committee to submit its probe report before it within a month. It also asked the committee to give a recommendation on the formulation of a national policy to prevent the suicidal death of students across the country.

The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader came up with the order.

Three Supreme Court (SC) lawyers, including barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, placed several newspaper reports before the court over the death of Aritree Adhikari.

The HC bench also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why action should not be taken against the responsible persons behind the death of Aritree Adhikari.

Early on, another HC bench observed that the suicide of a student of Viqarunnisa Noon School is heart-wrenching and termed the insulting of her parents a ‘very bad example’.

The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Rajik Al Jalil came up with the observations when an SC lawyer brought the issue to their notice. Barrister Sayedul Haque Sumon, presented the reports on the suicide published in different newspapers before the HC bench and sought its directives.

SR

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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