The “extreme lessons” in West Bengal's educational institutions continue unabated.
A month after the urine-licking episode at Santiniketan, a 17-year-old schoolgirl, accused of theft, was forced to endure a strip-search by teachers at a school in Burdwan district.
The teachers involved, Lipika Saha and Chaitali Sarkar of Kaligati Smriti Nari Sikshaniketan — located in Suri, 225 km north of Kolkata — were arrested and booked for outraging modesty and making indecent gestures at a woman.
But it has brought little consolation to the victim. “The humiliation is too deep for me to attend classes any more,” said the girl, who is to sit for her higher secondary board exams next year.
The nightmare took place on Friday, after a classmate complained that R150 and a Bangladeshi coin were missing from her bag. The teachers began to search the victim’s possessions and failing find anything, decided to conduct a strip-seach.
“I repeatedly told them that I was innocent, but they did not listen,” said the girl. “In front of other teachers, they began undressing me and stopped only when they found nothing… it was utterly humiliating.”
Her guardians were outraged. “My daughter has everything she needs. Why should she take other people’ s money?” said her father, a government contractor. “Teachers have the right to punish if someone is wrong, but they don’t have the right to humiliate a student,” said her grandfather.
On Friday night, the gir’s father lodged a complaint with the police.
“We will definitely look into the matter and take necessary action,” said Arnab Roy, principal secretary of the school education department.
Headmistress Kalpana Roy, however, called the allegation a “conspiracy” against her institution. “The girl should have informed me first, but she did not tell me anything. It is a conspiracy against my school,” she said.