Five days after the registration of case, the police are yet to arrest the teacher who allegedly strip-searched girl students of Government Middle School, Madiala, in Gurdaspur district.
According to the allegations of the girls’ parents, the teacher, Harjit Kaur, subjected students to a strip-search on January 9, suspecting them of stealing a Rs 500 note. However, she failed to find the money.
On the basis of the parents’ statement, the Batala police had registered a case under sections 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty of woman) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) Act against the teacher at the Ghuman police station.
Meanwhile, Raj Kumar Verka, vice-chairman of the National SC/ST Commission visited the school on Wednesday. Upset at the absence of Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha and Batala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inderbir Singh during his visit, Verka directed both officers to be present at the commission office in New Delhi within seven days. The DC and the SSP have also been told to bring the action-taken report in the strip-search case.
On January 11, Verka had told the two officers to submit a detailed report to him within three days.
Talking to mediapersons, Verka said if any officer was found lax in dealing with the case, strict action would be taken against him.
He said the girl students had told him that the teacher took them to the washroom, where they were forced to remove their clothes thrice while searching for the Rs 500 note.
He also criticised the Batala police for failing to arrest the accused. “I have told the SSP to arrest the teacher within seven days and report to me,” he added.
Deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha was not available for comment. When contacted, Batala SSP Inderbir Singh said he had received no written communication from Verka’s office about the latter’s visit to the school.
“After getting a phone call from Verka’s PA (personal assistant), an hour before his scheduled visit, I sent Sri Hargobindpur DSP Gurvinder Singh to the spot. He informed Verka about the action taken by the police so far,” the SSP added.
Meanwhile, district education officer (DEO, secondary) Amarbir Singh Saini said the accused teacher had already been suspended and they were further investigating the case. Saini said the probe report would be submitted to Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema within 10 days.