A Hindu school headmaster in Bangladesh was beaten up and made to do sit-ups in the presence of a local lawmaker for allegedly making disparaging statement against Islam, prompting the government to launch a probe into the incident.
Shyamal Kanti Bhakta of Piyar Sattar Latif High School in Bandar Upazila was beaten up by local people after some unidentified persons using the megaphone of a mosque propagated that Bhakhta made offensive comments about Islam while he was punishing a Muslim student for not studying.
Bhakta was rescued by police after he was beaten up and made to do sit-ups holding ears in the presence of ruling Awami League lawmaker Selim Osman.
The MP claimed that the punishment was the only way to save the teacher from the wrath of the mob.
Bhakta has denied making any statement against Islam and claimed that some people in the school management held grudges against him.
The traumatised teacher was then admitted at a local hospital under police protection.
Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid termed the humiliation of the headmaster as "unacceptable and inhumane", and said that action would be taken after the three-member inquiry committee submitted its report.
Education official AKM Nurul Amin, who heads the three-member inquiry committee, said that during the initial investigations it was found that Bhakhta had beaten up a student, "but we also received information that the attack on him was part of a conspiracy".
"The loudspeaker announcement that provoked the mob to assault Bhakhta was false...we learned about the conflict between Bhakhta and the management committee. We will give a detailed account in the probe report," he added.
The 10th grade student, who was slapped by the teacher, later told media that Bhakhta did not make any offensive comments about the religion. "I went to the managing committee to seek justice as he slapped me, but the sir (Bhakhta) did not make any remark about the religion," the student said.
Meanwhile, law minister Anisul Huq on Tuesday said the government was determined to bring to justice perpetrators of public humiliation of the headmaster.
"Those who were involved in the incident must face punitive action...forcing someone to do sit-ups is a crime under the penal code," Huq said.
Last month, two Hindu teachers were jailed for six months for making blasphemous comments about Islam under a colonial-era law that makes insulting any religion a crime in the Muslim-majority country.
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