Students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College on Thursday called off their agitation over the suicide of Class IX student Aritri Adhikari as the school authorities met most of their demands.
Following the suicide of Aritri allegedly after teachers insulted her parents in her presence on Monday, students of the institution and their guardians took to the streets, pressing for six demands, including removal of principal.
They called off their agitation after a meeting with their teachers for about two hours until 5:00pm and informed the waiting reporters that they would sit for rescheduled examinations from today.
Governing body chairman Golam Ashraf Talukder at a press briefing in the afternoon on the school premises offered apology to Aritri’s family.
Besides, a Dhaka court on the day sent the school’s Class IX teacher Hasna Hena, arrested by detective branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Wednesday night from capital’s Uttara, to jail, rejecting her remand prayer.
Aritri, daughter of Dilip Adhikari, ended her life by hanging herself at their Shantinagar residence.
The tragedy occurred allegedly after teachers insulted her parents in her presence on Monday, when her mobile phone was seized on suspicions that she used it to copy her social science paper on Sunday.
After her death, the students began agitation in and around Viqarunnisa campus protesting at Aritri’s death and later continued their agitation placing their six-point demand.
Their demands include resignation of Viqarunnisa acting principal Nazneen Ferdous and ensuring her punishment for instigating Aritri to commit suicide, ensuring care for each of the students and considering their mental health and not torturing physically or mentally.
The demands also include end to threat of expulsion and illegal detention policy, appointing counselor to ensure mental health of the school students, parents, teachers and other staff, necessary counseling for students who will break discipline, resignation of governing body members and seeking apology by the school authority for misbehavior with Aritri’s parents.
On Thursday, students and guardians began to gather in front of the school at Bailey Road since 10:00am to express outrage over the authorities’ misbehavior that led to Aritri’s suicide.
The protesters chanted slogans demanding justice holding placards with the inscription ‘We want justice.’
At around noon, a representative team of the students went to the secretariat and offered a memorandum to the education minister to press home their demands.
After coming back to the protesting ground, they said that they would end their protests only after written assurance to fulfill their demands.
Called by the teachers, a group of about 25 students went to meet the teachers about 3:00pm.
‘We had been protesting to press home our six-point demand and the teachers assured us of fulfilling three of them that are possible for them to meet,’ a representative of the protesting students, Anushka Roy, informed journalists after coming out of the meeting at about 5:00pm.
She said that two other demands — punishment of the principal and resignation of all governing body members – was not in the hand of the teachers and hoped that the education minister would take initiatives in this connection.
‘We have submitted a memorandum to the education minister on Thursday noon to press home our demands and we believe that the education minister will take appropriate action in this connection,’ she said.
Besides, she said, the teachers assured that the school authorities would go to Aritri’s residence and would apologise to her parents.
Anushka said they would return to classrooms and sit for examinations from Friday.
As Anushka’s press briefing was in progress, a group of students went out on demonstration in front of the school demanding release of their arrested teacher, Hasna Hena.
They left the spot about 5:30pm.
Viqarunnisa’s governing body chairman Golam Ashraf Talukder at a press briefing on the institution premises, apologised to Aritree’s family over the incident.
The instructions of the education ministry and Dhaka Education Board were already carried out and the governing body was also working to fulfil other demands of the students and guardians, he said.
Asked about the resignation of the governing body members, he said that it was the matter of individual members. ‘But, I am ready to resign for the greater interest.’
Meanwhile, detective branch sub-inspector Kamrul Hossain produced class teacher Hasna Hena before metropolitan magistrate Abu Sayeed who sent the teacher to jail, cancelling the teacher’s bail petition, New Age court correspondent reported, quoting court officials.
She was shown arrested in the case lodged by Aritri’s father Dilip Adhikari with Paltan Police Station for instigating her daughter to commit suicide.
Dilip also accused acting principal Nazneen Ferdous and morning shift in-charge Jinat Akhter who were still absconding, police said.
Viqarunnisa’s governing body, responding to education ministry directives, on Wednesday removed the teachers from their jobs.
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