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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Caste bias at Nabha school: Education dept transfers principal, 15 staff members

Seven teachers transferred to Tohra village government school.

punjab Updated: Jan 14, 2018 11:45 IST
Mohit Singla
Mohit Singla
Hindustan Times, Patiala
(HT Representative Image)

The state education department on Saturday transferred principal and 15 other staff members of Tohra village government school where a Dalit girl was allegedly harassed for refusing to help upper-caste boys cheat in examination. One of the boys was a relative of the school clerk.

A letter issued by the department, a copy of which is with the correspondent, states that the decision was taken based on recommendations of deputy commissioner’s report which stated that the staff should be transferred taking into account “improper” environment at the school and to “mend” it. The inquiry committee headed by assistant commissioner (grievances) is yet to submit its report.

While principal Jagjit Singh has been transferred to Maandvi in Sangrur district, clerk Jasveer Singh has been sent to the district education office in Kapurthala. Other teachers have been transferred within the district. Seven teachers have also been moved to to Tohra village government school.

The case

Veerpal Kaur, a student of Class 11 at Government Senior Secondary School, Tohra, had filed a complaint regarding harassment with the Punjab State Scheduled Castes (SC) Commission in November and an inquiry was marked to Patiala deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Jaskirat Singh.

Another inquiry was held by a five-member committee headed by Patiala district education officer (DEO) Kamal Kumari who has submitted his report.

Later this week, SC welfare minster and Nabha MLA Sadhu Singh Dharmsot along with Patiala deputy commissioner Kumar Amit visited the school and set up a third panel to look into the incident and told it to submit a report in two days. The panel was headed by assistant commissioner (grievances).

In May last year, a video in which the girl being pushed around by some boys and the clerk on the school campus had gone viral. After the results were out, a note was circulated on social media claiming that Veerpal secured good marks since she was helped by a teacher on phone while she was taking the exam.

Protests in city

A number of Dalit unions held a meeting at Ravidass Harminder in Patiala and then marched up to the deputy commissioner’s office and staged a dharna on Saturday. Along with the demand for justice for Veerpal Kaur, they handed over a memorandum to tehsildar Subhash Bhardwaj, addressed to the President of India. the memorandum demands arrest of those who attacked Dalits in Bhima Koregaon (Maharashtra).

They are also demanding strict action against the accused of rape of minor in Mohali and demanded justice in ‘false’ cases registered against the Bheem army. Jatinder Singh Mattu of SC/BC employee federation said that the transfer was necessary for “neutral” inquiry but they won’t be satisfied until a case is registered against those who “manhandled” Kaur in the school compound. “We also demand a case registration against caste-based discrimination meted out to the minor girl and suspension of the guilty members of staff. Till then protests will not stop,” he added.

Meanwhile, various politicians such as former Vidhan Sabha speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal and Nabha SGPC member Satwinder Singh Tohra visited Kaur and her family on Friday, said Hari Singh, father of Veerpal Kaur.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 14:11 IST

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