British Asia News Network
Bangladesh: Before Aritry Adhikary, a ninth-grade Viqarunnisa student killed herself, she had knelt down before the school principal and begged for forgiveness by touching her feet, in humiliation of her teachers.
On Tuesday night, moments of insults were revealed in the details filed by her father with the police. A FIR which is known as a first information report, recounts the events leading to her death that sparked fury on the social media and protests on the streets in front of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, a top school in Bangladesh.
The suicide exposed the school’s controversial handling of students and teachers’ behaviour with their parents and guardians when things go wrong. Aritry’s father Dilip Adhikary felt three teachers -- Hasna Hena, Zinat Akhtar and Nazneen Ferdous of Viqarunnisa – were to blame for their roles in the suicide.
On Dec 3, Aritry went to her school with a cellphone. An invigilator, Afsana, seized her phone and told her guardians to come to the school the next day. “We first went to class teacher Hasna Hena. She kept us waiting for a long time and then took us to assistant head teacher Zinat Akhtar,” Dilip said in the case.
“Hasna Hena became very agitated upon seeing us and told us that Aritry will be given a TC. Understanding her mood, we asked for her forgiveness. But she told us that she cannot do anything.”
Dilip went on to say, “Then we went to meet the school principal, Nazneen Ferdous. My daughter immediately touched her feet and begged her forgiveness. We also asked for her forgiveness thinking about our daughter’s uncertain future. Then we all started crying. But our efforts failed to soften her stance on the matter.”
“After some time we noticed that Aritry was not in the room with us. We thought she was outside and started searching. But we could not find her anywhere and we headed home. After coming back to our house, we found her in her room. We then went back into our own room.”
Dilip then left for work, “After some time my wife Beauty Rani Adhikari called me on my mobile phone and told me that Aritry’s room was locked. She was not answering the door and my wife asked me for advice. I then told her to contact the caretaker downstairs. Later my wife called the caretaker Sukhdev to our house. He entered Aritry’s room through the bathroom ventilator."
It was the caretaker who discovered Aritry’s body hanging from the ceiling fan, with a scarf around her neck. The family immediately took Aritry to Islami Bank Hospital in Kakrail around 3pm. But the on-duty doctors referred the family to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. “We hurriedly started towards Dhaka Medical in an ambulance. After tests, a doctor declared her dead.”
In the aftermath of the incident, the government took measures to scrap “monthly pay order” benefits for the three Viqarunnisa teachers in question, including Principal Nazneen Ferdous, the Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid announced on Wednesday. Nahid briefed the media on the findings filed by a government-formed panel that had been investigating the events leading to the suicide of Aritry.
Nahid announced the panel’s recommendations to suspend those teachers and take departmental and legal action against them. The committee found “elements of instigation” in the suicide of the student.
Earlier in the day, a group of students gathered outside the Viqarunnisa School, demanding justice. They vowed to continue their movement to pile pressure on the school authorities to suspend the “rogue” teachers.