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Jind shamed into silence

No one in Durjanpur can forget the cricket match played last month or the taunt hurled at the village and its daughters during the contest ? a jibe that has ripped the veils off the sordid tale of sexual abuse by two teachers of the Government Senior Secondary School and forced the shamed village into silence.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 05:05 IST

No one in Durjanpur can forget the cricket match played last month or the taunt hurled at the village and its daughters during the contest — a jibe that has ripped the veils off the sordid tale of sexual abuse by two teachers of the Government Senior Secondary School and forced the shamed village into silence.

Till the rival team accused math teacher Ram Kumar of favouring Durjanpur because of his “relationship” with the schoolgirls, the doings of instructor Rameshwar and Ram were only mentioned in hushed undertones. A clash was avoided on the field but the Youth Mandal of the village decided to investigate. What they uncovered devastated the village. “Some young boys had told us that the teachers used to call girls to the health room. Some had even reported seeing vulgar things. But we had no idea that there was any truth to this,” a member said.

After talking to suspected victims, the organisation took up the matter with village elders. At a panchayat meeting in January, an expected decision was taken: keep it under wraps. However, the matter reached the police after the father of a girl filed an FIR at Uchana police station against the two teachers on February 8, alleging the child had been raped. The duo was picked up from Hissar railway station a day later.

While the teachers have been sent to police custody, Durjanpur is a fortress of silence. The issue, for the mixed community of Jats and backwards, is not of justice but of shame. The reputation of the daughters of the village has been sullied and more damage can’t be done. “Who will marry girls from here,” asks a young boy to justify his silence. “We have been humiliated enough,” he adds.

The sentiment is near unanimous. Only one parent dared to approach the police though seven other girls were molested, sources said. However, the panchayat decided that one complaint would suffice. “Why drag in other girls?” — a move mired in controversy. After all, the FIR was lodged by a poor farmer from the backward class community and rumours abound he was pressurised by Jats in doing so.

But there are voices of dissent. “The panchayat is conservative... all they are worried about is izzat, even if it means letting the culprits go free,” said a member of the youth organisation.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 05:05 IST