Protesting Viqarunnisa students submit 6-point demand letter to ministry
12:00 AM, December 07, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:11 AM, December 07, 2018

Viqarunnisa protests postponed

After three days of protest, students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College (VNSC) yesterday decided to go back to class and attend exams after being assured that their six-point demand, over the death of ninth-grader Aritry Adhikary, would be implemented.

Meanwhile, another group of students protested the arrest of class teacher Hasna Hena, who was taken to jail yesterday in a case filed by Aritry's father for “provoking the suicide”. The group claimed the teacher was not involved in the incident.

In the morning, protestors, mostly from classes IX and X, took position near the main entrance of the institution in the capital's Bailey Road, to press home their demands, including the resignation of the acting principal and the school's governing body.

The other demands include the prevention of mental and physical torture on students, stopping threats of expulsion, the introduction of student counseling at the school and a public apology from the school authorities to Aritry's parents for “humiliating” them.

Chaos prevailed during the protest when some students and teachers tried to get the protestors off the street. Some current and former students, in favour of the arrested teacher, gathered inside the campus and told the demonstrating students that they should protest for Hasna Hena while also protesting for Aritry.

The protestors responded by saying their demonstrations had nothing to do with Hasna Hena's arrest.

“The arrest was made following the case filed by Aritry's father and the investigation by the education ministry. In our six-point demand, we wanted the acting principal to be brought to justice for instigating suicide,” a protesting student representative said.

Around 3:00pm, 25 student representatives held a two hour-long meeting with the school authorities. After the discussion, the students announced that they will postpone the agitations and said would attend the ongoing final examinations from today.

They also said the school authorities would soon issue a written statement regarding the demands they can meet.

About the resignation of the acting principal and the governing body, the students sought intervention from the education ministry. A team of student representatives also submitted a letter to the education ministry in this regard, which was received by the ministry.

TEACHER LANDED IN JAIL

After detectives arrested her on Wednesday night, Hasna Hena was produced before a Dhaka Court yesterday.

When Hasna's hearing began, she was inside the court prison. The hearing turned chaotic as arguments between lawyers heated up. Some teachers who had gone to observe the hearing were barred from entering by police, who said only lawyers and journalists were allowed inside the court room.

GOVERNING BODY APOLIGISED

The president of VNSC's governing body Golam Ashraf Talukdar, at a press briefing, yesterday apologised over Aritry's suicide and said they were shocked over the incident.

When asked about their resignation, Golam said that he would bring up the issue in their next meeting and, if necessary, members of the governing body will resign for the sake of the institution and its students.

Aritry was found dead at their house in the capital's Shantinagar on Monday hours after she and her parents were allegedly insulted by some teachers of the school.

The next day, Aritry's father Dilip Adhikary filed a case with Paltan Police Station accusing the acting principal Nazneen Ferdous, morning shift in-charge Zinat Akhtar, and class teacher Hasna Hena for provoking the suicide.

The teachers were suspended following an education ministry order and with the students' protest gaining momentum.

The death and the subsequent agitation, joined by parents, rocked the 66-year-old institute and prompted the education ministry and the school authorities to form two probe committees.

The probe body by the education ministry found the three teachers responsible. It was apparent that she [Aritry] had to choose the path of suicide after not being able to tolerate her parents' humiliation, according to the probe body. The investigation also unearthed many other irregularities at the school.

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