Mymensingh college teacher Abul Kalam Azad could have survived had police allowed an ambulance in the college to take him to a hospital, said his colleagues.
The assistant professor of Botany at Fulbaria Degree College had complained of chest pain soon after he was beaten by police at the college in Fulbaria town on Sunday afternoon. His colleagues called an ambulance, but it was not allowed to enter the college.
“With him, we sneaked out of the college through a back gate and hid in a house for almost an hour. Police used batons on anyone they met near the main entrance to the college,” said college teacher SM Abul Hashem.
Azad was then taken to a three-wheeler stand on a rickshaw van. A CNG-run three-wheeler carried him to a private clinic, some 10 kilometres away from the college, about one and a half hours after he was beaten, the teacher added.
The 55-year-old teacher was taken to the hospital around 3:30pm. He died around half an hour later.
Another teacher Arup Kumar Basak said, “Mymensingh Medical College Hospital is around 20 km off our college. But we didn't travel on Mymensingh-Fulbaria road for fear of further attacks.”
However, OC Rifat Khan of Fulbaria Police Station claimed cops did not see any ambulance in the college area during the clash.
Azad of 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. All of a sudden around 1:00pm, a police team entered the college and beat up demonstrators indiscriminately.
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.
The bodies of the two were handed over to their relatives after autopsies at Mymensingh Medical College yesterday. The two were later buried at their village homes.
Police yesterday filed a case with Fulbaria Police Station accusing 400-500 unidentified people of attacking law enforcers during Sunday's clash. Safar Ali's brother also filed a case of unnatural death.
Meanwhile, the education ministry yesterday formed a three-member committee, headed by Shamsul Huda, deputy director of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, to probe the teacher's death.
Mymensingh police formed another committee, led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Noor-e-Alam, to investigate the incident.
Rights group Ain O Salish Kendra yesterday in a press statement condemned the police attack on demonstrators in Fulbaria and demanded punitive action against “the law enforcers for the excesses that led to the death of two people”.
FEAR GRIPS FULBARIA
Law enforcers were patrolling the Fulbaria municipality area yesterday after the upazila administration imposed section 144 on Sunday midnight for an indefinite period.
There were no academic activities at the college. Only a few rickshaws and auto-rickshaws plied the town streets.
Talking to The Daily Star near the college, some students said police didn't allow them in to sit exams.
Students wanted to bring the teacher's body to the college for a funeral prayer, but could not do so due to imposition of section 144.
Asma Akter, a councillor of the municipality and also a local resident, said her college-going son went into hiding as the situation in the area became tense.
“His HSC exams are not far away. I am very worried about the prevailing situation. The local lawmaker should have taken initiatives beforehand to avoid such an untoward incident,” she added.
Many other parents in the area said their children didn't go to schools or colleges yesterday as they were feeling insecure.
Lawmaker Muslem Uddin, also the president of the college's governing body, said he on several occasions had invited teachers to discuss their demands, but they didn't pay heed.
Seeking anonymity, a teacher said the MP had called a meeting to discuss the issue, but they did not want to join it as the lawmaker made “false promises” before.
Established in 1972, Fulbaria Degree College has about 6,000 students and over 100 teachers.
Since the beginning of the agitation around one and a half months ago, the teachers and students have been holding the MP responsible for nationalisation of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Mohila College, a non-MPO college, instead of Fulbaria Degree College which has a much better infrastructure and academic achievement than that of the former.
The Mohila College was set up in 2009 and nationalised around one and a half months ago. Emdadul Haque Selim, the lawmaker's son, is the governing body president at the college.