Staff Correspondent: Students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College demonstrate in front of the institution in the capital on Wednesday protesting rude behaviour of a teacher that led to the suicide of a fellow student.
The governing committee of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College (VNSC) on Wednesday removed three teachers, including its acting principal Naznin Ferdous, over the suicide of a ninth-grade student of the institution, Aritree Adhikari.
The two other teachers are the school’s morning shift in-charge Jinat Akhtar and class teacher of ninth graders Hasna Hena.
Confirming the removal, VNSC governing body member Ataur Rahman said they decided to ‘sack’ the three teachers following an education ministry directive.
The exams at the school will resume on Friday.
Earlier on the day, VNSC was declared closed indefinitely amid protests of students and guardians over the suicide of its student.
The education ministry asked the managing committee of the school to suspend the three accused teachers.
It has also decided to cancel the monthly pay order (MPO) of the three teachers.
The ministry also sent letters to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police, urging them to take legal measures against the three teachers over the suicide of Aritree.
The letters were sent to the RAB director general and the DMP commissioner on Wednesday afternoon for taking legal action against the three teachers.
The ministry also sent letter to the chairman of Dhaka Education Board seeking departmental action against the teachers responsible for this.
It also asked the director general of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education to suspend MPO facilities of the three teachers.
Besides, the case, filed against the three teachers, has been transferred to Detective Branch of Police from Paltan police station for investigation.
Earlier in the day, the VNSC students resumed their demonstration on the second consecutive day on Wednesday in front of the institute’s Bailey Road branch and placed their six-point demand.
Their demands include: everyone in the school governing body must resign, principal must resign and brought to justice for instigating suicide, students must not be harassed mentally or physically, students must not face threat of expulsion and the institution needs to have student counselors.
Holding placards, hundreds of students along with their guardians gathered in front of the school gate, protesting at the suicide of the student after her parents were humiliated by the school authorities.
The angered students were chanting slogans, including ‘It is not suicide’, it is murder” and ‘We want justice’.
However, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the probe body, formed by his ministry, has found three VNSC teachers, including acting principal Naznin Ferdous, responsible for the suicide of Aritree Adhikari.
The minister came up with the remark while briefing journalists at his secretariat office in the capital.
He said, “We’ve asked the school managing committee to suspend the three accused teachers and decided to cancel their MPO.”
“The decision about MPO cancellation has already come into effect”, he added.
“We’ve also asked the school managing committee to take necessary administrative steps against the accused teachers,” he further said.
Nahid said, “The probe body has found that the three teachers threatened the victim’s parents and behaved badly towards them when they came to meet them.”
Aritee could not tolerate the humiliation of her parents and eventually committed suicide, the minister said.
The committee has also identified various irregularities in the institute, including in its admission process and coaching business, he added.
Nahid said, “These irregularities have been going on for years. The school authorities have opened additional sections in each class and new branches without taking necessary approval. Even, allegation of taking around Tk 10 lakh for admission of a single student has been raised against the institute.
Earlier, victim’s father businessman Dilip Adhikari filed a case with Paltan Police Station on Tuesday night accusing the school’s principal, Naznin Ferdous, morning shift in-charge Jinat Akhtar and class teacher Hasna Hena on charges of provoking Aritee to commit suicide.
Accepting the case, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Sadbir Yasir Ahsan Chowdhury on Wednesday fixed January 9 for submitting probe report before the court in the case.
Aritree Adhikari, 15, a class-IX student, committed suicide at their Shantinagar residence in the capital on Monday after allegedly being rebuked by the teachers for using mobile phone during examination.
The incident sparked widespread protests among the students and their guardians who also demanded the removal of the accused teachers. Protesting the incident, students and guardians on Tuesday gathered in front of the VNSC main gate and staged demonstrations demanding justice over the incident. However, the education minister visited the school and talked with students and teachers that day.
Amid the protests, on the same day, the High Court also made an observation that the suicide by the student of Viqarunnisa Noon School is heart-rending and termed the insult of her parents a ‘very bad example’.
On Tuesday, the education ministry formed the three-member probe committee, led by Prof Mohammad Yusuf, director of Dhaka Regional Education office, and asked them to submit its report within three days. Apart from this, the school authorities formed a three-member probe committee led by governing committee member Ataur Rahman which was asked to submit its report within seven days.
Condemning the incident, Child Rights Advocacy Coalition in Bangladesh, a rights organization, on Wednesday formed human chain in front of National Press Club in the capital.
Addressing the human chain, Shipa Hafiza, executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, urged the government to ensure punishment for the people responsible for the incident through a fair probe.