A Banshkhali upazila court in Chittagong district has sent 13 high school teachers to jail on treason charges.
Banshkhali Senior Judicial Magistrate Sazzad Hossain passed the order on Wednesday after rejecting the bail petitions of the teachers, who were accused of comparing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with a local BNP leader Liakat Ali in a creative question paper.
Banshkhali police station Officer-in-Charge Md Alamgir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune that all the teachers were sent to jail following the court order.
The 13 teachers who faced the sedition charges include the question setter and presidents and general secretaries of the Teachers’ Association of six upazilas in Chittagong- Patiya, Satkania, Banshkhali, Anwara, Boalkhali and Chandanaish.
The comparison was drawn in a half-yearly examination held on July 17 last year. Students of Class IX from 97 high schools in six upazilas of south Chittagong took the examination in a course titled ‘Bangladesh and Global Studies’.
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Drawing the issue of Banskhali power plant movement and the following atrocities, the question paper said the villagers had become able to turn around under the leadership of a local UP member named ‘L’ like the people of Bangladesh turned around against the Pakistani forces during the Liberation War in 1971.
The students were asked to compare the ‘L’ with a leader of Bangladesh.
Earlier, the former UP Chairman Liakat Ali led the much-talked about movement against the proposed coal-fired plant in Banskhali.
Soon after the incident, the police arrested two teachers identified as Taherul Islam, president of Banshkhali Teachers’ Association and Headmaster of Nasera Khatun RK Girls High School and Dukul Barua, assistant teacher of Bangabandhu High School. Of the duo, Dukul Barua set the question paper.
Despite being a teacher of Buddhism and Moral Education, Dukul Barua set the creative question paper for the subject of Bangladesh and Global Studies.
Chittagong district administration had formed a two-member probe committee comprising Md Habibur Rahman, Chittagong deputy commissioner (education and ICT) and Hosne Ara, secondary district education officer.
The questions for such examinations were usually collected from upazila teachers’ association. No alternative question paper was available and there was no provision for moderating the question paper.