Dhaka: A video showing a Hindu college principal being compelled to wear a garland of shoes has provoked fury on social media in Bangladesh. The Muslims put the garland on shoes around the neck of Principal Swapan Kumar Biswas in the presence of police personnel because a Hindu student had posted an image of Nupur Sharma on social media. The student has been arrested for the crime of posting the photograph of the former BJP spokesperson.
The incident took place at Mirzapur United College in Narail’s Sadar Upazila on June 17. According to reports, the incident occurred after a Hindu student named Rahul Dev Roy studying in the eleventh class shared a post hailing Nupur Sharma on Facebook along with her photo. Nupur has been criticized for her allegedly derogatory comments on the Prophet Muhammad.
When the Hindu student arrived at the campus, some Muslim students met him and asked him to delete the post. But he refused to do so and wrote ‘Pranam Nio bas Nupur Sharma, Jai Shri Ram’, and it was deemed insulting to Islam by the Islamists.
After that, the Muslims went to meet principal and demanded to take strong action against the student. Seeing that the situation was getting out of control, the principal kept the Hindu student in his office and called the police.
But this worsened the situation as the Islamist students started spreading the rumour that the Hindu principal was protecting the student despite committing blasphemy. As the rumour spread outside the campus, Islamists and clerics from the area arrived at the college demanding action against both the principal and the students. Angry Muslim residents and students set fire to the principal’s and two other teachers’ motorbikes.
Meanwhile, the police arrived and tried to take the student to the police station. But the mob prevented them, and they clashed with the police. They then put garlands of shoes around the neck of both the student and the principal. In the video, it can be seen that several policemen were present at the scene, but they were mute spectators. They didn’t do anything to protect the student and the principal from Islamist attack. Later, more police came and they tried to extract Rahul from the mob but were not able to do so. Instead, there was a big fight, and several people, including students, teachers and policemen were injured in the clash.
By evening, senior officials of district administration and police arrived at the college and they were able to pacify the mob. They assured proper investigation into the incident and took the student and the principal to the police station. Later the student Rahul was arrested and the principal was allowed to go.