Students of a government senior secondary school at Choru village held a press conference on Wednesday against the alleged atrocities by Aligarh police station team on September 29, while they were agitating against lack of teachers in their school.
“The policemen started beating us with lathis. They groped, dragged us by our hair and foul mouthed us because we were demanding our basic right i.e. a teacher to teach,” said Kumari Gaura Meena, a Class 10 student of the school. The students demanded a criminal case against the police team for the alleged lathi charge.
“There are no teachers for English, Geography and Social Sciences in our school for the past three months and we were facing difficulty to manage the syllabus. We started an agitation in the morning when policemen arrived at the spot and started beating us mercilessly with lathis. They pulled our hair and dragged us on the street in broad daylight,” said Manisha Saini, 14, a Class 10 student, who had to walk with a painful gait due to a spinal injury caused during the lathicharge.
More than 150 students of the school, along with teachers and villagers had organised an agitation demanding teachers for the school on September 29. The five-member Aligarh police station team allegedly lathicharged the students to disperse the crowd. Twelve girls sustained injuries and had to be admitted to a nearby hospital.
After public furore by the villagers, Superintendent of Police (Tonk) Deepak Kumar suspended SHO Amar Singh on charges of failure to control the agitation. The press conference was organized jointly by several NGOs and women organisations that submitted an independent probe report of the incident and demanded strict action against the accused policemen.
“Our investigative report confirms that policemen used excessive force on students who were compelled to come out on streets due to non-availability of teachers. Instead of praising these girls for their valour, the SHO molested them in broad daylight. We demand strict judicial action against the guilty policemen,” said activist Nisha Sidhu.
However, Tonk SP Kumar has refuted the molestation charges and blamed the villagers for giving the incident a ‘molestation’ angle for their ‘vested interests’.
“The students and villagers had created a jam by agitating on the road and Aligarh SHO had gone over there to disperse them. I agree that the officer failed to control the mob and thus has been suspended. But the allegation of lathicharge and molestation is totally false, according to my probe. How can a team of five policemen lathi charge a mob of more than 200 people? Clearly, it is the vested interest of a few, who have turned an incident of stampede into a molestation case,” said Kumar.