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Hriday Mandal returns to classes after 28 days, honoured in harmony rally

Teachers and students welcomed science teacher Hriday Mandal with flowers and a rally of harmony on Tuesday as he returned to his school nine days after he was freed on bail in a case over “hurting religious sentiment.”

“I am very happy today. I’m back to my school and can take classes again,” said Hriday about his feelings on returning to Binodpur Ramkumar High School in Munshiganj after spending 19 days in prison.

“I’ve no issue with my beloved students,” he said adding, “But I think those who provoked them should be taken to task.”

On Tuesday he also took science and math classes as per routine.

The students are also happy as the teacher has returned.

Earlier on April 13, he came to the school to meet the probe committee.

Alamgir Hossain, president of the school’s Managing Committee, said those who wanted to harass Hriday did not succeed. “The way the students of this school have welcomed him today is proof of their failure.”

“This incident happened in my absence as I was out of the country. And I’m very sorry for this.”

Meanwhile, Headmaster Alauddin Ahmed said, “The reputation of my school was also tarnished for some students. They realized their mistake.

“We will soon put an end to the incident ensuring that such incident can never happen.”

Munshiganj Municipality Mayor Mohammad Faisal Biplob said the gathering of all teachers and students will definitely help in curbing the evil power in the area and the school. “We have also come together in ‘Harmony rally’ to end the inertia of students and teachers.”

He also instructed the managing committee to install CCTV cameras at Hriday’s residential quarter and the surrounding area.

Meanwhile, a one-member probe committee formed by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education has not submitted its report even after five working days. The report was due to be submitted on Tuesday.

However, the only one member of the committee Principal of Government Harganga College Prof Abdul Hai Talukder said the report will be submitted to the director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education on Wednesday.

On April 10, Hriday was released from Munshiganj jail after securing bail.

He was arrested on March 22 after Asad Mia, an electrician of the school, lodged a complaint with Sadar Police on charge of hurting religious sentiment.

The rights groups denounced his arrest as an attempt to curtail freedom of expression and science education in the country.

Earlier on March 20, some tenth-grade students of Binodpur Ramkumar High School (science section), recorded a class conversation of Hriday on science and religion on a mobile phone.

On March 22, some students staged demonstrations outside the school calling for punishment for Hriday for alleged demeaning of religion.

He was subsequently arrested triggering protests at home and abroad.

Source: United News of Bangladesh