A gay teacher has been barred from teaching classes at a Bangladesh secondary school in response to protests by students.
Ramzan Ali, a teacher at Savar Model College near Dhaka, Bangladesh, remains unwelcome in classes there after students protested his presence in late August because he was accused of having a homosexual encounter with a student 14 years ago.
Thousands of students of Savar Model College boycotted classes on Aug. 28 and 29 and demanded his withdrawal at a teacher in the school’s Islamic department.
Two human rights organizations — JusticeMakers Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) — objected to the decision, saying that it was a violation of the Constitution of Bangladesh and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,
The decision was announced on Aug. 29 by Savar district chief executive Md. Mazharul Islam, who visited the school and held a closed-door meeting with students and teachers on the second day of the boycott.
Ramzan Ali had been accused of inappropriate involvement with a male student in 2008. At that time, the school board investigated and decided that the allegations were true, but Ramzan Ali challenged the action in court. A second case from Ramzan Ali is currently pending in the Supreme Court.
Lawyer Shahanur Islam, a gay rights campaigner and secretary general of BIHR, protested Mazharul Islam’s decision to exclude Ramzan Ali from teaching classes, noting that Ramzan Ali has not been convicted in a court of law. He argued that the teacher should be returned to the classroom quickly, be assured of his safety and be compensated for his losses.
He also urged that the people responsible for inciting the boycott among the school’s 11th and 12th graders should be put on trial.
At present, Shahanur Islam said, Ramzan Ali is not teaching classes but is being paid 50 percent of his salary.