His wife says ‘some influential people’ at school instigated students to entrap teacher Hriday Mondal

“My husband was trapped in a planned way. Some influential people in the school did it by provoking the children,” she said at a protest at Shahbagh in Dhaka on Saturday.

“My husband has been teaching at the school for 21 years. He did not belittle religion. He just said “religion is a matter of faith while science examines the evidence”. He did nothing to insult religion.

Babita, who works as a nurse at a hospital in Dhaka, also said her family did not feel safe at their home in Munshiganj. “I still feel threatened now. All Hindus are in danger now. After his [Hriday’s] arrest, we suffer insults in the street. We are socially humiliated. We face discrimination.

“Please arrange for my husband’s unconditional release. Also make sure that we can live normally as before after his return.

Writer and former professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Dr. Muhammed Zafar Iqbal said that teaching science in schools is the first step in moving a country forward in the field of technology. “Hriday Mondal was imprisoned for performing this duty.”

Zafar Iqbal said that anyone with a scientific bent speaks like Hriday. “And I participated in the writing of the book he was teaching. It hurts me to think that we’re still out there while he’s in jail.

In an unscheduled class on March 20, Hriday was discussing science topics with a group of 10th graders. During the session, some students asked questions about the relationship between science and religion and secretly recorded the teacher’s answer on a cell phone.

According to an audio clip they later shared on social media, Hriday had argued that “religion is about faith” while “science examines the evidence.”

On March 22, two days after the taping, the school principal told the media that students and others from the community were protesting outside the school, demanding punishment for Hriday.

The teacher was later suspended by the school. Later that day, he was arrested in connection with a case filed by the school’s office assistant, Asad.

Hriday had his initial bail appeal at the Munshiganj Magistrate’s Court on March 28 dismissed. Later on April 4, the District and Sessions Court also refused to release him on bail.

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