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Jessore: Hindu teacher suspended over alleged blasphemy

A Hindu school teacher has been temporarily suspended by the authorities for allegedly insulting Islam in Abhaynagar, Jessore district, Bangladesh. Upazila secondary education officer Shahidul Islam said this on Sunday afternoon.

The dismissed Newton Sarkar is a biology teacher at the Deyapara Model Secondary School in Abhaynagar Upazila. His house is in Bahadurpur village, Manirampur upazila, Jessore.

Some of the students of the school said that on Sunday afternoon, when they went to Deyapara Model Secondary School, they saw students, parents, local residents, and hundreds of leaders and workers of various Islamic religious organisations protesting against the teacher in the school grounds.

Eighth grade students allege that last Wednesday (January 25), while taking science class, Hindu teacher Newton Sarkar made offensive comments about Islam and the Prophet. The students then went to the headmaster, who asked them to go home so he could look into the matter.

In the afternoon, an emergency meeting was held with the participation of the upazila secondary education officer, OC of Abhaynagar police station, the local UP chairman, and school management board members. At the end of the meeting, they announced the suspension of Newton Sarkar, and the protest was withdrawn.

Lutfar Rahman, president of the management council of the school, said that Newton Sarkar was temporarily suspended as the students’ complaints against him were “proven.”

Upazila secondary education officer Shahidul Islam said that a three-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident. The investigation report is asked to be submitted within three working days.

Lutufur Rahman further added that, “That teacher has been suspended. Legal action will be taken after receiving the inquiry report.”

However, Newton Sarkar denied the charge of insulting religion and said, “Last Wednesday, I talked about the reality of science in the eighth grade science class. I told them to honour the gods and goddesses and prophets with reverence and faith. Students changed my words. I don’t understand why they did that.”

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