Bangladesh: Hindu college principal forced to wear garland of shoes because a Hindu student hailed Nupur Sharma

A video showing a Hindu college principal being compelled to wear a garland of shoes has provoked fury on social media in Bangladesh. The Muslims put the garland on shoes on around the neck of Principal Swapan Kumar Biswas in the presence of police personnel only because a Hindu student had posted an image of Nupur Sharma on social media. The student has already been arrested for the crime of posting the photograph of the former BJP spokesperson.

The incident took place at Mirzapur United College in Narail’s Sadar Upazila on June 17. According to reports, the incident occurred after a Hindu student named Rahul Dev Roy studying in the eleventh class shared a post hailing Nupur Sharma on Facebook along with her photo. Nupur Sharma has been criticized for her allegedly derogatory comments on the Prophet Muhammad. When the Hindu student arrived at the campus, some Muslim students met him and asked him to delete the post. But the Hindu student refused to do so. he had written ‘Pranam Nio bas Nupur Sharma, Jai Shri Ram’, and it was deemed insulting to Islam by the Islamists.

After that, the Muslims went to meet principal Swapan Kumar Biswas and demanded to take strong action against the student. Seeing that the situation has become serious, the principal kept the Hindu student in his office and called the police to take appropriate action.

But this worsened the situation because the Islamist Students started to spread the rumour that the Hindu principal was protecting the Hindu student despite committee blasphemy. The rumour spread outside the campus, and Islamists and clerics from the area arrived at the college demanding action against both the principal and the students. Angry Muslim residents and students set fire to the principal’s and two other teachers’ motorbikes. Meanwhile, the police arrived and tried to take the student to the police station. But the mob prevented them, and they clashed with the police.

They then put garlands of shoes around the neck of both the student and the teacher. In the video that went viral, locals and students were seen putting the grand of shoes around the principal’s neck, accusing him of insulting Islam, while the student already has such a garland around his neck.

In the video, it can be seen that several policemen were present at the scene, but they were mute spectators. They didn’t do anything to protect the student and the principal from this Islamist attack. Later, more police came and they tried to extract Rahul from the mob but were not able to do so. Instead, there was a big fight, and several people were injured in it, including Bangla language teacher Shaymal Kumar Ghosh who was seriously injured. Several students, policemen and outsiders were injured in the clash.

The mob also burnt down the two-wheelers of Principal Swapan Biswas, and teachers Prashant Roy and Arun Kumar Mandal. This mayhem went on from 10 AM till 4 PM, which an increasing number of police could not stop the violence because the number of Islamists also kept increasing. In fact, many people joined the fight without even knowing what was the issue. Police even fired tear gas shells and used lathi-charge to disperse the mob.

By evening, senior officials of district administration and police arrived at the college and they were able to pacify the mob. They assured proper investigation of the case and took the two Hindus to the police station. Later the student Rahul was arrested under Digital Safety laws, while principal Biswas was let go.

However, the college principal has been in hiding after that and is not going to the college fearing more attacks by radical Islamists. Both the principal and his family are untraceable after the incident. As a result, he has been removed from the post and Akhtar Hossen Tinku has been appointed as Principal in charge.

In the meanwhile, two committees have been formed by the district magistrate and the police to probe the incident. Rahul Dev Roy has been sent to judicial custody by a court.

The incident has caused an outrage in Bangladeshi social media, with many criticising the police for not protecting the Hindus in the incident. Many people have questioned how a teacher could be beaten in presence of the police. Protesters also organized a march for Monday, June 27 at Shahbagh in Dhaka, claiming that the teacher was humiliated just because he belonged to a religious minority group.

Robin Ahsan, one of the organizers of the rally said, “The teacher had no role in the incident. Police took him out without protecting him. What do those who run the administration want? This happened in front of hundreds of police personnel. This is a signal for Bangladesh. Has the administration fallen into the hands of fundamentalists?”

Theatre artist Zulfikar Chanchal wrote on Facebook, “What’s the allegation? He has insulted religion. How? A group of angry students went to him and informed him that a Hindu student had insulted religion with a post supporting India’s Nupur Sharma. Swapan Kumar Biswas immediately called the police. He made the phone call – this was seen as his crime; making this call was seen as an insult to religion.”

Another Facebook user Sudipto Sujoy shared poet Kazi Quader Nawaz’s poem “Teacher’s Dignity”. He wrote, “Honourable Prime Minister, you are doing a great job in infrastructure development. But doesn’t the human brain need a little development? My country was not this bigoted, why is it so now? Why do people try to take the law into their own hands despite having a court, while the police become the spectator? Can a civilized country run this way?” Since the event, the principal has kept a safe distance from everyone. He is not staying at home out of fear.

Narail Sadar Police Station chief Mohammad Shawkat Kabir said while speaking to, “The college principal Swapan Kumar Biswas didn’t insult any religion. He wasn’t detained. We saved him that day. No question of filing a case against him arises as he didn’t commit any crime.” He stated he was unaware of the incident in which a garland of shoes was placed around the teacher’s neck. Shawkat further said Swapan did not seek police protection for himself. He said, “We’ll take security measures if he wants.” The Hindu student was detained and charged under the Digital Security Act.

Conspiracy to remove Principal

Interestingly, according to a report, the incident was a ploy to grab the position of Principal from Biswas, and that is why he was attacked despite having no role in the Facebook post. Reportedly, the mob focused more on the Principal instead of the student who had praised Nupur Sharma, because a conspiracy was going on to remove him from the post. Therefore when the Hindu student made the post, the opportunity was taken to target the principal.

Source : OpIndia

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