Fourteen students of Rabindra University Bangladesh (RUB), who were allegedly subjected to the humiliation of forced haircuts in public by a member of their proctorial board, have given their statements before a 5-member committee formed to probe the incident.
Meanwhile the accused teacher, Farhana Yasmin Baten, who chaired the Cultural Heritage and Bangladesh Studies Department of the university before resigning over the incident, has sought two weeks to give her statement.
Starting from Sunday morning, thirteen of the students gave their statements appearing in person before the committee, while one who remains hospitalised after trying to commit suicide out of humiliation over the incident appeared virtually.
Apart from the victims, all students of the Cultural Heritage and Bangladesh Studies Department, fifteen other students of the department, three teachers, five officials, and five students of a different department gave witness statements on the incident.
Additionally eight other students from different departments gave statements on the arbitrary treatment they had received from Farhana Yasmin Baten over the last three years.
“Many victims broke down into tears while explaining the humiliation they faced that day in the name of discipline, '' said spokesperson for the students' protest movement over the incident AKM Nazmul Hossain.
Farhana Yasmin sent an e-mail addressed to the Vice-Chancellor of the university seeking two weeks for giving her statement, according to treasurer Abdul Latif, who is currently on routine post of VC.
On September 26, Farhana instructed an office assistant to trim the hair of 14 first-year students as they were entering examination halls, apparently for ignoring her previous instructions to get haircuts.
Unable to bear the humiliation, Nazmul Hasan Tuhin, 25, a student of the department, consumed sleeping pills the following day in an attempt to take his own life.
Although she submitted her resignation as department chair, assistant proctor, and member of the proctorial board, Farhana has continued to deny the allegations and claimed the charges against her were all fabricated, as she rejected the request of a few students to defer the exam.
On Thursday, the RUB students staged protests demanding the termination of the teacher.
The following day, the High Court asked the RUB VC and registrar to take steps against those involved in the incident and to file a report within a month.
On Thursday night, the RUB authorities suspended Farhana from her teaching position as well.
On Saturday, following assurance by Education Minister Dipu Moni of launching a probe into the incident, students eased their protest and unlocked the administrative building of the university.
Head of the probe committee proctor Layla Ferdous disagreed to give any statement on the matter while their work is still ongoing.