Earlier, the bail was sought two times - on 23 and 28 March. The court turned down the bail plea on both occasions.

Earlier, on 22 March, the school’s office assistant Md Asad filed the case against Hriday Chandra Mondal on allegations of defaming Islam. He was arrested on the same day.

Wishing anonymity, a teacher of the school said Hriday Chandra Mondal was taking a science class of the 10th graders on 20 March. There he had a discussion about science and religion with a few students. A student took video the whole discussion. Later, headmaster Md Alauddin was informed of the incident. On that day, the headmaster issued show-cause notice to teacher Hriday Chandra Mondal and requested the students to remain quiet.

The teacher further said the students, however, informed the matter to a few local people and former students. On the next day they were chanting slogans on the school compound demanding arrest of Hriday Chandra Mondal. Police brought the situation under control.

Another teacher at Binodpur Ram Kumar High School said, “I was also a student of this school. I know Hriday sir personally for long. He respects all religions. He never spoke defaming any religion, never tried to impose anything on anyone.”

He has been wronged, the teacher remarked.

Noted citizens, organisations issue statement demanding release

Rights organisation Amnesty International has urged the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Hriday Chandra Mondal, a schoolteacher who was arrested on charges of “hurting religious sentiment” after he discussed in the classroom the distinction between religion and science.

In a statement published on Saturday, Smriti Singh, deputy regional director for South Asia at Amnesty International, said, “Hriday Chandra Mondal is held solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

‘Nipironer Biruddhe Shahbagh' (Shahbagh Against Oppression) organised a rally demanding the release of Hriday Chandra Mondal on Saturday afternoon. Writer and educationist Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, accused teacher Hriday Chandra Mondal’s wife Babita Haldar, rights activist Khushi Kabir, Minority Rights Forum Bangladesh leader Nirod Baran Majumder, Bangladesh Science Association leader Mujibur Rahman and leaders of a few other organisations addressed the rally.

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