Dhaka, May 18: Bangladesh's High Court today took suo motu cognisance of humiliation of a Hindu school headmaster and asked the government to submit a report on the incident wherein he was beaten up and forced to do sit-ups in presence of a lawmaker for allegedly making comments against Islam.
"The (High Court) bench asked authorities concerned to explain why legal measures should not be taken against lawmaker Selim Osman of Narayanganj," a court official said.
He said the two-judge bench also asked the administration of the suburban river port town to submit a report detailing "what lawful measures have been taken following the assault of headmaster Shyamal Kanti Bhakta of Piyar Sattar Latif High School in at the suburban port town."
Bhakta was beaten up by local people after some unidentified persons using the megaphone of a mosque propagated that he made offensive comments about Islam while he was punishing a Muslim student for not studying.
He was rescued by police after he was beaten up and made to do sit-ups holding ears in the presence of lawmaker Osman. The High Court intervention came as university teachers joined the protest calling the incident the "highest form of savagery" while angry posts flooded the Facebook with scores of protesters launching a "sorry sir" campaign.
The protesters changed their profile pictures on the social network websites with photos in which they were seen holding their own ears with the "sorry sir" caption in a show of solidarity with the headmaster. Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers' Associations (FBUTA), which brings together the teachers' associations from all public universities, issued a statement today asking authorities to investigate the incident to "uphold the system of honour for education and teachers".
"We want everyone involved in this horrible act to apologise...medical treatment might help him physically, but we can guess how he must be feeling," it said. Several social and cultural groups also joined the protest, demanding punishment of the culprits.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid issued a statement reassuring that the government would take action soon after an official inquiry committee submitted its report. "Action will be taken as recommended by the probe committee," Nahid said. Bhakta has denied making any statement against Islam and said some people in management held grudges against him.
"I have been working at the school since it opened 18 years. Now I am a victim of conspiracy...The whole thing has been stage-managed," he said, without referring to the MP. Meanwhile, TV channels today reported that the school managing committee sacked Bhakta on ground of his "absence from duty" after the incident.
Bhakta "physically tortured students, received money in the name of teachers' appointment, made derogatory comments about Islam, remained absent without leave and used to be late at work," the letter said.