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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Uttarakhand school principal suspended for arguing with CM gets Congress support

Uttarakhand Congress says there are different rules for BJP leaders’ relatives and commoners, seeks withdrawal of suspension orders.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2018 15:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttara Bahuguna, the teacher who was suspended by Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat after an argument, breaks down as she speaks to journalist about the incident in Dehradun.
Uttara Bahuguna, the teacher who was suspended by Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat after an argument, breaks down as she speaks to journalist about the incident in Dehradun.(PTI Photo)

The opposition Congress in Uttarakhand has taken up the cause of a 57-year-old school principal who was suspended after she had a heated argument with chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Congress workers burned an effigy of the state government on Saturday and demanded that the suspension of Uttara Bahuguna, a widow posted at a government school in remote Uttarkashi district, be revoked.

On Thursday, Bahuguna attended Rawat’s janta darbar to request a transfer to Dehradun to be with her children. Their conversation, according to a video that went viral on social media, turned into a heated argument. Bahuguna was later booked by police. The state education department accused her of attending the Janta Darbar without permission and misbehaving with the chief minister and suspended her on Friday.

“Is it the way a CM should talk to a widow who had just gone to request a transfer from a remote area to accessible area so that she can be with her children,” asked Uttarakhand Congress president Pritam Singh during the effigy burning at the state party office.

Singh accused Rawat of behaving like a king. He said the BJP-led state government, which is supposed to serve people, is putting people behind bars when they bring up with their problems.

“We want the government to revoke the suspension order of the widow principal and reinstate her job immediately. If it is not done then we would hold a one-day sit-in protest against the government on July 1 at Gandhi Park. The CM’s actions smells of arrogance,” said Singh.

Singh also accuse Rawat and the BJP of “having two set of rules, one for the family members of BJP leaders and the ministers, and one for the commoners.” He cited a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query from a city-based activist Raghunath Singh Negi, on the transfers and postings of Rawat’s wife, Sunita Rawat, who is also a teacher in a government school.

The RTI reply had stated that Sunita Rawat, who joined service in 1992, got her first posting in a primary school in Pauri Garhwal district. She was posted there for four years but managed to a transfer to Dehradun district where she has been serving for the last 22 years without any transfer despite getting a promotion in 2008.

RTI activist Negi said that “it is strange how the CM’s wife has managed to be in Dehradun district for the last 22 years. In Bahuguna’s case, the department cited one of the reasons (for the suspension) as attending the CM’s Janta Darbar without taking its permission. There is no rule as such. While on leave, a government employee can attend the CM’s Janta Darbar or any other event.”

The state Congress president said that there cannot be different approaches by the government on same issue.

“The education department said that Bahuguna’s transfer cannot be done because it is an inter-district one. How come the family members of BJP leaders and ministers in the same job got transfers from remote areas to easily accessible areas? Bahuguna who has a genuine reason for it, should also be transferred in the same manner,” added Singh.

First Published: Jun 30, 2018 14:12 IST

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