Several hundred Ebtedayee madrasah teachers on a hunger strike movement that rolled into straight sixth day today vowed to continue strike as two meetings with the government ended inconclusive.
They have been on a sit-in for nine days and then went on a hunger strike for past six days in front of the National Press Club asking for nationalization of the primary-equivalent Islamic schools across the country.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and newly appointed State Minister for Technical and Madrasah Education Kazi Keramot Ali had two meetings in quick succession with the striking teachers today at the Secretariat but to no avail.
Secretary General of Bangladesh Independent Ebtedayee Madrasah Teachers’ Association, Mokhlesur Rahman, told UNB that the ministers just assured of bringing the issue before the Prime Minister but fell short of giving any assurance of meeting their demands outright.
He also said they will continue the hunger strike until the government fulfills their demands.
Meanwhile, four more teachers fell sick on Sunday, raising the tally to 165.
They were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said Qazi Ruhul Amin Chowdhury, president of the Association.
Hamida Khatun, a teacher of Rasulpur Ebtedayee Madrasah of Gaibandha district, came here to express solidarity with the other teachers.
“I came from Gaibandha for demanding the nationalisation of the registered madrasas and I will continue my strike until the government fulfills our demand,” Hamida said.
On January 1, the Ebtedayee teachers arranged a sit-in programme under the banner of ‘Bangladesh Independent Ebtedayee Madrasah Teachers’ Association’ to fulfill their demand.
On January 8, they submitted separate memoranda to the Education Ministry and Finance Ministry to realise their demands, including nationalisation of madrasahs.
On January 9, the teachers went on the indefinite hunger strike demanding an immediate solution to the problem.
Kazi Mokhlesur Rahman alleged that the teachers of the Ebtedayee madrasahs are being deprived of proper pay and allowances despite working as much as the teachers of the government primary school.