The upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Rangamati’s Langadu upazila has allegedly beaten up two Secondary School Certificate (SSC) candidates at an examination venue.
Five other examinees at the Langadu Girls’ High School exam centre fainted after hearing about the unprovoked assault. They have been hospitalized.
UNO Mosaddek Mehedi Imam went to the centre on Saturday during the maths exam around 11am. After entering Room No 6, he swooped down on examinee Junaid Islam Peyar for allegedly showing the content of his paper to another student.
Mosaddek started slapping Peyar and took away his paper. He pulled the student by the collar and took him outside where he slapped him repeatedly and threatened to expel him.
Another student, Shuvo, told Peyar to apologize to the UNO. Enraged, Mosaddek also slapped Shuvo several times.
The invigilating teachers could do nothing but watch helplessly. One teacher could not bear to watch the assault and broke down in tears, according to one of her colleagues.
Peyar said: “The UNO slapped me 15-20 times for a very small reason, and he also took away my exam paper. I could not write for half an hour after the ordeal. I had a horrible exam.”
Seeking anonymity, an invigilator said: “In my long career, I have never seen an officer behave so badly with a candidate. We could not even protest against it.”
UNO Mosaddek denied the allegations.
The incident spread panic among other examinees at the centre.
Students said they were petrified and that they could not focus on the exam after that. Many said they were afraid that they might fail although the questions were easy.
They said the UNO not only assaulted the students but also used profane language, scolded them, and threw away files.
Ismail Hossain, an SSC examinee, said: “The UNO did the same thing during the Bangla first paper exam on February 1. He slapped me and another student beside me and said: 'There is no need for students like you.'”
Similar sentiments were expressed by other students. One of them said: “His [UNO’s] behaviour is extremely rude.”
Shahina Akhter, a guardian, said: “Students make mistakes all the time. The UNO did not do the right thing by beating them up in such a manner.”
Other guardians expressed their anger too saying an official could not physically assault the children no matter how powerful he was.
“The government has prohibited corporal punishment. The UNO had no right to behave this way,” one of them said.
They said the UNO’s actions would have a negative impact on the students’ results, and he would have to take responsibility for it.
Langadu Girls’ High School centre’s Secretary and its headmaster Rabiranjan Chakma denied knowledge about the matter.
“I do not know anything about students getting beaten up. But I have heard that the UNO had expressed his anger towards them,” he added.
When contacted, UNO Mosaddek said: “No one was beaten up. They were only scolded. These are no problems. Everything will be fine.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com