Nothing could stop the heart-rending cry of Saifunnahar, wife of deceased Abul Kalam Azad, a teacher of Fulbaria Degree College in Mymensingh.
“We have lost everything. Who will look after us now?” wailed Saifunnahar, also a colleague of Azad. She alleged that local lawmaker Advocate Muslem Uddin was behind the Sunday's incident, who influenced police. She also demanded a judicial probe to bring the culprits to book. “I urge the prime minister to take initiative for better future of my children who are still students,” she said.
The couple has three children -- Samiha Azad Shochi, an honours final-year student at Bangladesh Agricultural University; Sabiha Azad Shormi, second-year student at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; and Mohsi Asif Azad Sourab,an SSC examinee from Mymensingh Zila School; family sources said.
“Azad always headed out from our residence in Jamtola area around 7:00am,” she said. “When I reached the college that day, I saw him near the academic building. We also exchanged greetings,” said a sobbing Saifunnahar. Azad also performed his exam duties from 9:00am till noon, college sources said.
Azad, an assistant professor of Botany, hailed from Nandail upazila, and Safor Ali, 65, of Fulbaria, were killed and over 100 others injured when police swooped on a demonstration by teachers, students and staff of the college in Fulbaria on Sunday.
Witnesses said demonstrators brought out a procession on the campus demanding nationalisation of the college. Around 1:00pm, a team of police entered the college and started beating the demonstrators.
Safor Ali, a day labourer, was crossing the college area during the clash. Doctors at Fulbaria Upazila Health Complex said he was brought dead there.
“Police did not even allow us to take the body to his beloved college. I request all to work together for materialising his dream of nationalising the college,” said Saifunnahar.
“When he felt severe chest pain, he wrote the medicine's name and asked students and a college peon to get it but they were detained at the college gate,” alleged Saifunnahar, who was also on the spot.
When Azad's colleagues were tending to him in the staff room, a group of police allegedly led by Sub-inspector Rafiqul Islam started banging on the door and hurled abuse at them, she said.
Denying the allegation, SI Rafiq said he along with other officials was on duty there but did not act such way.
OC Rifat Khan of Fulbaria Police Station claimed he did not hear of any such allegation. “We will investigate the matter.”
The cops said they were assigned there by their superiors but did not disclose the names, alleged teachers.
“My husband could have survived had police allowed him medicine or an ambulance to take him to a hospital,” wailed the widow. Her children and others present at the house -- none could hold back their tears.
“All the police present on the spot must be held responsible and brought to book for this heinous crime,” Shochi, daughter of Azad, told this correspondent.
Khodeja Akter, Azad's cousin and colleague, echoed her.
Azad was then taken to a three-wheeler stand on a rickshaw van by his colleagues. Then a CNG-run three-wheeler carried him to a private clinic, some 10km away from the college, about one and a half hours after he was beaten. The 55-year-old teacher was taken to the hospital around 3:30pm. He died around half an hour later.
When asked, the OC claimed cops did not see any ambulance in the college area or none was barred to go out for getting medicine.
The bodies were handed over to their families after autopsies and later buried at their village homes.
“As the agitation reached a violent stage, police had to take action,” said Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun, deputy inspector general of police in Mymensingh.
Contacted, lawmaker advocate Muslem Uddin said, he or his family was not involved with the incident.
“Being a lawmaker, I cannot do anything harmful to my constituency,” he said. Terming the incident an “untoward” one, the MP also said he was very much pained by it.
Meanwhile, four probe committees were formed by the education ministry, district administration and police.