Jharkhand school teacher beaten up by students was demoted for alleged casteist slurs, says official

Jharkhand school teacher beaten up by students was demoted for alleged casteist slurs, says official

The school teacher who was allegedly beaten up by students in Jharkhand’s Dumka district Monday had been demoted from the post of the school principal over complaints of him using caste-based swear words, according to Deputy Development Commissioner Karn Satyarthi.

The video of the students beating up the teacher, Suman Singh, and a clerk of the school went viral online and the authorities said that the teacher sustained minor injuries. The students beat them up after the teacher allegedly did not give them “practical examination assessment marks” in the Class 9 examination conducted by Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC), according to authorities. The students said they got only “marginal marks”.

The Pahariya Uccha Vidyalaya in the Gopikander block of Dumka has 245 students, all from the Pahariya community belonging to particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG), and five teachers.

Satyarthi, who is also the project director of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency in the district, said tensions between the teacher and the students began four months ago.

“Sometime in April, the students were unhappy with the concerned headmaster, Suman Singh, as he used to hurl caste-based expletives. A first information report (FIR) was registered at the instance of the students and we recommended his transfer. However, the headmaster was demoted to a teacher at the same school.”

Satyarthi said the incident happened at a time when the issue over caste-based insults appeared to be settled. “But on August 29, the teacher was beaten up. Prima facie, there was some issue in the assessment of students. However, we are inquiring about the matter,” he said. No one has been arrested so far in the matter, according to officials.

Sources in the district said that a few students are indisciplined and some are “bordering on criminal behaviour”.

A source said: “We don’t want the students’ academic life to be stained by a case and therefore we are moving with due diligence. However, we will initiate legal action against the students too once the matter is clear and we also plan to transfer some of them to other schools. We have called a parent-teacher meeting and we are trying to understand the reason behind this kind of aggression.”