Mizanur Rashid - Teacher, Protestor & Victim
a life unwillingly given
yet, valiantly given
yes, rebellion against oppression
that has awakened
that sleeping thirst for justice…
We, Star Insight, portray the lives of the strong fighting for a cause and the unsung heroes of our country. But alas, we had to see such a day that a story had to be written for this hero after his martyrdom. Mizanur Rashid had to give his life before a law had to be passed against eve teasers, whereas this has always been a basic right for the people against these oppressors. 16 year old Rupali took her own life from shame, and the government has been given a month to formulate a law against stalking and sexual harassment. Does it really take that long when such a basic human right is being exploited in such heinous manner? Is it really so hard to deliver justice? Who knows how many more Rupalis and Mizans will haunt us before any actions are taken. It is our humble request to the incumbent government that examples be made out of such violators through an appropriate law, so that another Rupali is not shamed. So that another teacher a true guardian Mizanur Rashid is not martyred. So that Mizan's life had not been spent in vain for standing against injustice and upholding the true spirit of being a teacher protecting his students by being their guardian at their time of need. So that others are not forced to think twice that their fates may be similar to that of this martyr for doing what is right. It is our belief and we trust that the government will treat this matter so that justice and eradication of such acts prevails.
People took to the streets, forming human chains, to protest and claim justice for Mizan's murder.
Eveteasing has elevated to a serious crime in recent days in Bangladesh, and the list of eve teasing victims who have suffered tragic ends is quite long, which include the deaths of Simi of Dhaka and Trisha of Gaibandha. But the death of Mizanur Rashid, Lokmanpur College's Chemistry Teacher, is the crime that tops the list. Mizan was a popular teacher among students of his college. So, when two of the girls complained to him about boys stalking their ways to the college and back home, he decided to take action out of his natural guardianship as a teacher. Mizan rebuked the stalkers, and had to pay for his righteous actions with his life, as he unknowingly went against those who would turn out to be killers. He emerges a hero, a martyr, who sacrificed his life to expose to the country just how dangerous these stalkers can be.
The loss in Mizan's death can truly be felt in his wife Razia Sultana Mili's voice when she said, “My husband sacrificed his life for girls of his college, but what will happen to his four-year old daughter? Who will protect her?” Although Mizan's had five brothers and five sisters, he used to be the head of the family of five, which included his wife Razia Sultana Mili, 4-year old daughter Nusaiba Rashid Momo, his mother Jahera Begum, two younger sisters and brother at Chalk Laxmipur village in Charghat Upazila of Rajshahi.
Mizan's father died years ago, and his 62-year old father-in-law Shawkat Alam went nearly mad with frustration like others in the family since Mizan was murdered. As Star Insight approached him, Alam cried out, “We are not prepared for Mizan's death at all. How could some people just kill someone like
Mizan and his family, in memorable portraits.
him, a teacher? How will I afford the family's expenses now? I am retired, and get only a pension amounting to Tk. 4,000 per month, and that isn't enough to pay for my own family. Who will pay for Momo's education?” No one could answer Alam's questions. As for Mizan's daughter Momo, she was playing around, taking her regular meals, and falling asleep like a normal child. But, once every now and then she is asking about her father. She is too young to understand that she will not see Mizan again and he will live on only in her memories. Mizan's wife could not hold her tears back in the 12 days that Mizan was fighting for his life. She kept saying that she could not fathom how it was possible for human beings to simply kill someone such as Mizan, a man who was very amiable and pleasant.
The stalkers, Mamunur Rashid Asif and Abdul Awal Rajon, have been arrested by Natore police. Five months ago, Rajon forcibly married Asif's sister Sharmin Akhtar Khusi and the two had bad reputation as perverts in the locality. Supposedly, they both have political connections. Locals alleged that although Rajon's father Mansur Rahman is a clerk at Tamaltala College and Asif's father Abdur Rashid alias Golam Rasul is an Auditor at the upazila accounts office, they amassed tremendous sums of money. Asif bought a 150CC Pulsar motorcycle three months ago. More importantly, Rajon was accused in Shams-ud-Doha murder case. Doha, a college student, was killed in March 2008 over a land feud with Mokhlesur Rahman, brother of Khalilur Rahman, an Assistant Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission. Since their arrest, the accused are portraying the attack on Mizan as an accident just the same way they tried to evade the Doha murder, calling it a suicide. Locals also alleged that the stalkers are under the shelter of a local Awami League leader of the locality. Majedur Rahman Chand, a Vice President of Natore District AL office and Principal of Tamaltala Agriculture College, where Rajon was a student, said that the attack on Mizanur Rashid was an accident in which Rajon and Asif were also injured.
Mizan's mourning family.
On 12 October 2010, the fateful day, Mizan was on his way back home after college around noon, some 10km away from his college on a motorcycle. He stopped at wayside to respond to a phone call. Suddenly, a motorcycle that was speeding through caught sight of all, including six of Mizan's colleagues, who were present on the scene. Mizan's colleague and another eye-witness Faruk Hossain said, “Asif was driving the motorcycle while Rajon was in the backseat.” “They rammed Mizan with the motorcycle and then started beating him with iron rods”, said Rakibul Hasan, another eye-witness, who was at a shorter distance from Mizan than the others at the time of the crime. The accused persons were also injured while fleeing from the spot. “They fell from their motorcycle when we chased them after the attack on Mizan. Later, they managed to flee leaving the motorcycle behind” said another witness. Locals rescued Mizan from a pool of blood and he was unconscious. He was taken to local hospital, then shifted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital where the doctors referred him to Dhaka. Mizan breathed his last on 24 October 2010.
Mizan's brother-in-law Maruf Hossain said, “We could have saved Mizan if RMCH was equipped with modern facilities. The road to Dhaka was rough and every pothole and every speed breaker aggravated the situation. Blood had filled up Mizan's lungs by the time we took him to Dhaka.”
Check worth Tk. 1,000,000/= being donated to Mizan's family by Dutch Bangla bank.
Motiur Rahman, Principal of Lokmanpur College, said that Mizanur was very popular among teachers and students. “I can't console myself as Mizan sir had to sacrifice his life only we complained. I will never forget him”, said Bobita. Reacting on his students' complaints and worried about their safety, Mizan did not hesitate to warn the stalkers of legal action and he also informed the matter to the college authority on October 7. Two days later on October 9, the college authority sat in a meeting with the college governing body president SM Badiuzzaman in the chair. They decided to inform the family of Rajon and Asif about their audacity and also to inform the police, said the principal. Badiuzzaman, who took the responsibility of informing the families, could not, however, go to their homes before the attack.
Abdus Salam, Officer-in-charge of Bagatipara PS recorded statements of the two girl students. “They (girls) were stalked several times on their ways between the college and homes on three consecutive days since October 4 and filthy proposals were made to them”, said the OC adding that the village girls were too shy too utter the words Rajon and Asif had spoken. “We had no doubt about the murder. The autopsy report that termed Mizan's death as homicide will help to prove the charges. The evidence suggests that the two suspects went to the scene with the intention of murder. Otherwise, they had no reason for going to the spot of occurrence at Lokmanpur, 8km away from their homes”, said Abdur Rahim, investigating officer of the case.
Mizan's murder left a countrywide alarm against incidents of stalking. Thousands of people across the country took to streets and formed human chains demanding justice. They also demanded terming the day of Mizan's attack (12 October 2010) as a national day of Eve Teasing Resistance. Mizan's family cries reached the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who sent ministers, MPs and government officials to speak to Mizan's family and assure them of justice. The PM offered Mizan's wife a government job, while others gave her food and shelter. Dutch Bangla Bank Limited donated Tk. 10 lakh to Mizan's family while government officials handed over Tk. 1 lakh. But these amount can only enable her and her daughter to survive the days, no amount of wealth can compensate for the loss of a life such as Mizan's.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009