Cop abuses teacher for wearing 'bindi' in Dhaka

A female teacher of Tejgaon College in Dhaka has allegedly been harassed in broad daylight by a policeman in the capital’s Farmgate area, just for wearing a 'bindi' (or 'teep') on her forehead.

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

“When I was walking towards the college, a middle-aged bearded man hurled abuse at me saying ‘Why are you wearing a teep?’ I turned around and found the man sitting on a motorcycle in police uniform,” she said in a complaint lodged with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station.

According to the complaint, when she approached the policeman and protested the abuse, he left the area running his motorbike over her toe.

Lata also mentioned that the abuse hurled by the cop were not worth repeating.

Talking to Prothom Alo on Saturday evening, Lata vented frustration saying that she was unable to bear such a behaviour from a policeman.

Soon after the incident, a shocked Lata went to three traffic policemen who were on duty just on the opposite side of the road. When she disclosed her ordeal, they advised her to lodge a complaint with police, according to Lata.

She also noted that a number of people were observing the incident but did not step forward. They might have maintained safe distance from unwanted hassle as the man was in police uniform.

“After the incident, I called my husband Moloy Bala, an Oriental Art Department professor at Dhaka University. Other colleagues came too and I lodged the complaint with the police,” the college teacher said.

“Now 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,” she added.

Lata in no way could accept such disgraceful behaviour from a policeman even after 50 years of independence. 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.

However, Lata could not remember the cop’s name, but mentioned his motorcycle number in the complaint.

Utpal Barua, the officer-in-charge of Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, said a woman lodged a complaint stating that she was subjected to misbehavious by a man dressed with police uniform. But she failed to say his name or designation.

“She provided a motorbike number and it is being investigated whether the bike belongs to the police or not,” he added.