At the school in Kundal village in Fazilka. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
Checking of the girls of government middle school in Kundal village was done not once, but twice on October 31, a six-member inquiry committee has revealed this in its report, confirming that they were stripped. It found two teachers negligent and insensitive towards the issue.
Following the report, Education Secretary suspended headmistress Kuldeep Kaur and science teacher Jyoti Chugh on the directive of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday. Both had already been transferred on Saturday. A charge sheet will also be issued under the Conduct Rule 8 against Kaur and Chugh, revealed Fazilka District Education Officer (DEO) Kulwant Singh.
The girls were asked to strip after the discovery of a sanitary napkin in the school’s toilet.
SDM Poonam Singh, head of the committee, said after talking to the girls and teachers, they got to know that after the toilet was found blocked due to a sanitary napkin, they were first called to the kitchen of the school one by one. “They were checked with their clothes on. At that time, Kaur was standing outside the kitchen. It was in full knowledge of the headmistress and science teacher.
The checking was ordered by Kaur. Later the Class 6 and 7 girls were called to Class 8 room one by one. Four Class 8 girls asked them to strip themselves to show if anyone was using sanitary napkin that day. Though both the teachers had expressed ignorance, it is hard to believe as how can such a checking go on within the school premises without their knowledge. Moreover, it is a very small school with only three rooms,” said Singh.
The report said that though there may not have been any intent of physical/ sexual assault, the teachers, at the outset, were found to be negligent and careless.
The girls had complained to their parents and when they visited the school, they were not heard, rather turned away, alleged a few of them. Later, they all had submitted a complaint to Abohar SDM Singh on November 2. On November 3, she had visited the school and constituted the committee to probe the matter.
The CM got to know about this incident after he saw a video clip of the girls narrating this incident and immediately ordered transfer of both the teachers, apart from ordering to complete the inquiry in a day. Kaur was transferred to Balluana school, while Chugh to Khuia Sarwar School in Fazilka.
On Monday, the inquiry committee completed the probe and the report was submitted to the education secretary the same evening. The CM had directed the secretary to take further action as necessary, said his spokesperson.
According to the official spokesperson of the CM, it was an incident of gross negligence, indifference and insensitivity on part of the teachers of the school. The CM said that the respect and dignity of girl students could not be allowed to be compromised at any cost. “My government is committed to provide a favourable environment for education and empowerment of girls,” he said.
The inquiry committee members — the Fazilka DEO, Sadar Abohar Station House Officer Angrej Singh and Fazilka district child protection officer Ritu — have unanimously agreed to the insensitivity towards women’s dignity by the school staff.
Villagers had already been demanding suspension of teachers as school strength had dropped to 50 per cent after the incident.