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Bangladesh: Policeman Nazmul Tareque hurls abuses, tries to run bike over college teacher for wearing a ‘bindi’

“I wonder where we are. I am a Hindu and it is normal to wear a bindi. Not only me, anyone can wear a bindi," lambasted Lata Samaddar, the female teacher of Tejgaon College in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In an incident of hate crime in Bangladesh, Lata Samaddar, a female teacher of Tejgaon College in Dhaka was reportedly harassed in broad daylight by a policeman in the capital’s Farmgate area simply for wearing a traditional bindi on her forehead. According to reports, the policeman hurled abuses at her after seeing a bindi on her forehead.

When the teacher protested, the policeman tried to run her over with his motorbike, causing her to fall and sustain serious injuries.

The incident reportedly happened on Saturday (April 2) morning. Biplob Kumar Sarkar, the deputy commissioner of the Tejgaon Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police informed on Monday, April 4 that the constable identified as Nazmul Tareque has been taken into custody. The accused policeman was reportedly identified based on the registration number of his motorcycle provided to the police by the victim.

Bangladeshi author Tasleema Nasreen took to Twitter today to condemn the incident. The author shared pictures of how many “freethinking men and women from all communities have been wearing bindis & protesting against the harassment.”

News of the incident spread quickly on social media, drawing a severe backlash. Members of various women’s rights organisations took to the streets to protest against the despicable act. Extending their solidarity with Lata Samaddar, members of these outfits asked the authorities to identify the policeman and bring him to book.

Suborna Mustafa, a parliamentarian from the ruling Awami League (AL), also expressed her outrage in the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) on Sunday. She demanded strict and prompt action against the harasser.

“Is there any clause in the constitution and the law that says a woman cannot wear bindi on her forehead?” the parliamentarian and famous actress blasted.

Speaking to Prasar Bharti Special Correspondent in Dhaka, parliamentarian and social activist Aroma Dutta termed the unfortunate incident as more than harassment. “It is preventing people from practising their own culture as women have worn Bindi and jewellery for thousands of years in this country. Such incidents are not expected in a secular state like Bangladesh,” said Aroma Dutta. She, however, added that the incident reflected an individual’s mindset rather than the mindset of Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies in general.

I am a Hindu and it is normal to wear a bindi: Bangladesh Teacher harassed by a policeman for wearing bindi narrates her ordeal

The incident took place on Saturday morning at around 8.30 am when Lata Samaddar, a lecturer in Theatre and Media Studies Department at Tejgaon College, was passing by the policeman at Shezan Point in the area.

Lata Samaddar filed a complaint about the incident at the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station. In the complaint, Lata Samaddar wrote, “When I was walking towards the college, a middle-aged bearded man hurled abuse at me saying ‘Why are you wearing a ‘teep’ (bindi)?’ I turned around and found the man sitting on a motorcycle in a police uniform.”

“As I protested, he started the bike and tried to run me over. I tried to move away but got injured severely by falling down,” she added in the complaint.

According to the Daily Star, she went to three on-duty traffic cops after the incident, who advised r to file a complaint against the accused.

According to the teacher, a number of people were watching the incident but chose not to intervene. Because the man was wearing a police uniform, they may have kept a safe distance from any unwanted attention, stated Lata.

“I want exemplary punishment for the man. Who is he to decide whether I should wear a bindi or not. Such an incident needed to be protested. Let women be safe from such communal and fundamentalist people,” Lata added. She broke down in tears after reaching her college.

“I wonder where we are. I am a Hindu and it is normal to wear a bindi. Not only me, anyone can wear bindi. Several people earlier made bad comments for wearing ‘shankha’ (conch shell bangles), but I paid no heed. Their comments and those uttered by the uniformed person today are quite similar,” she said.

Targeted attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh have become quite common in recent years. In a Muslim-majority nation where they constitute less than 10% of the total population, Hindus remain vulnerable to attacks by radical Islamic terrorists. OpIndia has documented several such cases of persecution and ill-treatment meted out to the minority community.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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