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Forced haircuts: Another Rabindra University student attempts suicide demanding teacher’s sacking

  • Published at 11:02 pm October 24th, 2021
Students protest in front of the administration building demanding the expulsion of suspended assistant proctor Farhana Yasmin Baten at the Rabindra University in Sirajganj on Friday, September 25, 2021
File photo: Students protest in front of the administration building demanding the expulsion of suspended assistant proctor Farhana Yasmin Baten at the Rabindra University in Sirajganj on Friday, September 25, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

A humiliated student’s attempted suicide back in September had kicked off the demonstrations

A student of Rabindra University in Sirajganj has attempted suicide during a protest by drinking poison as the institution did not fire Farhana Yeasmin, the teacher accused of forcefully cutting the hair of 14 students.

The incident took place around 12:30pm Sunday, as the university students yet again went on a hunger strike demanding the expulsion of Farhana, now former chairperson of the Cultural Heritage and Bangladesh Studies Department.

Earlier, one of the 14 students of the department whose hair Farhana cut had attempted suicide by ingesting sleeping pills after feeling humiliated on September 27.

That incident had triggered continuous protests at the university, demanding action against the teacher. The teacher had stepped down from three posts she held after the demonstrations began.

The authorities investigated the matter too, but they are yet to give a decision on the matter. 

On Saturday, third-year student Shamim Hossain had gone live on Facebook and said he would commit suicide at the academic building if the authorities failed to fire Farhana by 12pm Sunday, said his classmates.

They said he took out a bottle marked “poison” from his pocket and started drinking from it while delivering a speech at the protest after the university did not give its decision.

He was immediately rushed to Shahjadpur Upazila Health Complex, where he received immediate treatment and was admitted later.

The health complex’s Resident Medical Officer Rakib Hasnat said the student brought in a state of intoxication at around 12:45pm. “He is out of danger now.”

On September 26, Farhana forcefully cut the hair of 14 students of her department before an exam. She had reportedly directed them to trim their hair before attending the exams. The students had earlier protested the tight schedule of the exams which did not sit well with Farhana.

Also Read - Forced haircut: Accused teacher skipped probe panel’s summon

Feeling humiliated, one of the students, named Nazmul Hasan Tuhin, tried to kill himself by ingesting sleeping pills the next day.

On September 28, the students started their demonstrating -- by boycotting exams and locking down the academic building -- pushing for Farhana’s sacking.

Two days later, the Syndicate had suspended Farhana, barring her indefinitely from academic and administrative activities until further notice, while the students halted the protests following assurances from the education minister.

However, the students started a sit-in protest and hunger strike from Friday night, as no decision was taken at the Syndicate meeting that evening.

Nazmul Hasan, a spokesperson for the protesting students, said: “When we contacted the treasurer [acting VC] about the meeting, he said the decision will be taken at the next syndicate meeting. But he did not specify when the next meeting will be held.”

“We will continue the movement until Farhana Yeasmin is fired,” he said on Sunday.

Treasurer Abdul Latif said the Syndicate has not made the final decision as it is yet to collect some information. “The next meeting will be held very soon and the decision will be made following the procedure.”

Last Thursday evening, the five-member investigation committee had submitted its findings to the university Registrar Sohrab Ali. Friday’s Syndicate meeting had reviewed the report.

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