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Dhaka Tribune

Forced haircut at Rabindra University stirs protest

Students demand expulsion of teacher over incident

Update : 28 Sep 2021, 07:54 PM

Students at Rabindra University in Sirajganj's Shahjadpur boycotted classes and exams on Tuesday in protest against forced haircuts for 14 first-year students. 

One of the students attempted suicide out of humiliation. His condition is stated to be critical.

During the protest, the students locked the academic and administrative buildings of the university, said Laila Ferdous Himel, head of the Bangla department.

They demanded the expulsion of Farhana Yasmin Baten, assistant proctor and chairperson of the Department of History, Culture and Bangladesh Studies, for the forced haircut in an examination hall.

OC of Shahjadpur police station Shahid Mahmud Khan said: “The university authorities have sat down with the protestors to discuss the matter.”

The student, who attempted suicide by consuming 35 sleeping pills, is currently undergoing treatment at Enayetpur Khwaja Yunus Ali Medical College Hospital. On-duty doctors said his condition was critical. 

According to sources, Farhana Yasmin had earlier warned the students having long hair. On Sunday, many of the students came to the class after getting their hair trimmed.

Farhana Yasmin Baten cut off the hair of 14 examinees with scissors during the final exams as they did not comply. 

Rajib Adhikari and Jannatul Ferdous Moon, teachers of the same department and assistant proctors, were present at the time but they did not intervene.

On Monday, before the commencement of another examination, the aggrieved students boycotted the exam and gathered at the gate of the temporary campus of the university, located at Shahjadpur Women's Degree College.

At the time, the teachers forced everyone to go to the examination hall by threatening to fail them.

Later, Farhana Yasmin called one of the students on Monday afternoon and insulted him for posting a status on social media about the haircut incident. She also threatened to expel him from the university.

Later that day, the student attempted to commit suicide at is room of Shah Mukhdum Hall.

Denying the allegations, Farhana Yasmin said: “A few days ago, some students came to me and asked me to postpone the exam. When I refused, they indulged in such propaganda out of anger.”

Regarding social media posts of the students, she said that students of other departments were spreading rumours on Facebook.

Abdul Latif, additional treasurer and vice chancellor of the university, said: “If a written complaint is received, the matter will be investigated and necessary action will be taken.”

The Teachers' Council members are set to sit at 3pm on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

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