DHAKA: Bangladesh authorities ordered an investigation Thursday after images of a politician and a then wealthy businessman clambering over groups of students who had been forced to form a human chain went viral.
Parents lodged complaints this week after dozens of students were made to stand and form a bridge out of their bodies for an elected mayor who then walked over them in the central district of Chandpur.
It was followed by a similar incident in which an businessman was seen walking on the shoulders of students in a celebration to mark his donation of a piece of land to a school in the district of Jamalpur.
Photos of have since gone viral on social media and were widely published in local newspapers, sparking a welter of criticism.
"This is a very disturbing and bizarre incident. I've directed the police to take the necessary legal steps," Shahabuddin Khan, chief government administrator of Jamalpur district, told AFP.
"The students' parents said they did not send their kids to school be part of this kind of thing which have a negative impact."
Chandpur's district administrator appeared to defend the mayor Nur Hossain, who is a ruling Awami League party official, saying it was a traditional celebration for an honoured guest.
"But we've an ordered investigation. We are trying to find out whether the elected official did it intentionally," he told AFP, adding the mayor has since "apologised for his action".
It was not immediately clear whether either man had actually broken the law but there were widespread calls on Facebook for their arrest on the grounds they had humiliated students.
"The people who organise and participate in such events should be punished. We don't need any tradition which requires belittlement of human beings," one Facebook user Ariul Islam wrote.