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University teachers held in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Aug 25: Bangladesh security forces on Friday arrested four university professors who were allegedly active in protests that erupted into clashes with police and prompted a curfew in six cities, officials said.

The arrests in early morning raids came before the government said it was temporarily suspending the curfew imposed after three days of unrest in the country, which has been under emergency rule since January.

Harun ur Rashid, dean of Dhaka university's social science faculty, and Anwar Hossain, dean of bioscience and general secretary of the university's teachers' association, were arrested at their campus homes, acting vice-chancellor Yusuf Haider said.

"At least 10 army officers came to our house in the night and said my father had to go with them to the police station," said Hossain's daughter Dipannita.

The two have been active in the protests this week, which began after army personnel manhandled students during a football match on the campus of Dhaka University on Monday.

A military-backed interim government took power seven months ago following a political crisis that saw the cancellation of national elections.

Two more teachers were arrested in northwestern Rajshahi on Friday morning, said university head Altaf Hossain.

Hossain said intelligence officers told him they suspected teachers at the university of instigating violence there earlier this week that left one bystander dead and dozens injured.

The detained academics were applied physics professors Saidur Rahman Khan, also a former head of the university, and Abdus Sobhan, leader of a left-leaning teachers' group, he added.

Six local political leaders - from main parties the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League - were also arrested in western Chuadanga district for "fuelling the student unrest," said local police chief Hasan Bari Noor. AFP
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