A teacher of Udayan Uchcha Madhyamik Bidyalaya (Udayan Secondary High School) of the capital Dhaka has been accused of cutting off the sleeves of female students in an attempt to force them to comply with the uniform rules of the school. However, the students and the parents are deeply offended and feel their religious rights have been violated.
The accused Mahbuba Khanom Kalpana is the Assistant Head Mistress of the school and wife of Labour Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Raju. Previously there have been similar concerns raised about her but the school authority was unable to take any actions due to her being the wife of an influential minister of the government.
Students have reported that without any fore-warning, Mrs Mahbuba Khanom entered the classrooms with a pair of scissors and started cutting off the sleeves of the female students with full sleeve. Some students pleaded to be excused since they wore the long sleeves in order to fulfil their religious obligations, but Mrs Khanom continued her actions after saying, ‘School discipline comes before religious obligations. You are bound to obey the school rules.’
Sleeves were cut off 50 female students of Class 9, 10, 11 and 12 during class time in front of the whole class. The students were warned about not being able to enter the school grounds if they do not follow the school rules in the future.
Students and parents are unable to accept Mrs Khanam’s actions. The parents claimed there was no prior warning to the parents. They are afraid such an incident will leave a life-long negative impact in the young minds of their daughters. The affected students appeared shaken and distraught. The victims and their parents also alleged that many students received wounds when the vice principal caught them and cut the long sleeves of their shirts with scissors.
The students and their parents staged a sit on the premises of Udayan Higher Secondary School, situated at Fuller Road on Dhaka University campus area. From the sit-in they announced a set of demands including removal of the principal and the vice principal.
Principal Umme Salma has confirmed the incident but denies any prior knowledge of the incident. She claimed, ‘This was done to discipline the students. We had no intention of hurting them.’ She assured there is nothing wrong in wearing full sleeves for religious reasons. Principle Umme Salma further claimed to be still settling in her new role as the Principal hence being unable to assert full control over everything at this stage. She agreed there were a number of things that prevents her from taking actions against all the teachers.
Udayan Uchcha Madhyamik Bidyalaya is in the Fuller Road of the Capital Dhaka. Currently there are more than three thousand students. Udayan has an impressive track record of good results.