4 July 2018:
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NHRC asks GoAP to pay ‘monetary relief’ to 88 girls forced to undress by teachers
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Arunachal Pradesh Govt to pay Rs 5,000 as “monetary relief” to each of the 88 girls who were allegedly forced to undress by their school teachers as punishment last year.
The students of class 6 and 7 of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Papum Pare district were subjected to the humiliating treatment on November 23 after they allegedly wrote vulgar words against the head teacher. Taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, the NHRC had issued notices to the Arunachal Pradesh government and the Union HRD ministry.
“The NHRC has recommended that the government of Arunachal Pradesh pay Rs 5,000 each, as monetary relief, to the 88 girl students of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Papum Pare, who were stripped off their dignity when forced to remove their clothes in front of the entire school, as punishment by the three teachers,” the NHRC said in a statement.
It said it has asked the government for a compliance report and proof of payments made within four weeks.
The panel said the students were punished despite they denying to have written “vulgar words against the head teacher and another student on a piece of paper”.
The NHRC’s directions come after reports received from the state government confirmed that the act of the three school teachers had been found “inhumane and cruel”. “Their action on minor girl students was against the basic human dignity and decency. After enquiry, the education department placed one teacher under suspension, while the two others were removed from the services,” it said.
The matter was reported to the police station and a case was registered under IPC and POCSO Act, the panel said. The three teachers were arrested and later released on bail. The girl students were provided emotional and psychological counselling, the Commission said.
It said the government report indicates that authorities “failed” to protect the right to dignity of the girls.
Issuing the notices to the state’s Chief Secretary and the HRD Secretary, the NHRC had observed that the “sordid act” of the teachers was inexcusable. “Teachers are always highly respected in the society as they play the role of a true guide and protector for their students. Such an inhuman and insensible act cannot be expected from them,” it said.
The HRD Ministry has issued a series of guidelines to state governments, including on safety and security of girl students in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas. The state government has served a show-cause notice to the chairman of Arunachal Farmers’ Development Society, Sagalee, which runs the school. It has asked why the MoU signed between the society with SSA, Rajya Mission, Itanagar, should not be terminated, the statement stated.
According to the statement, it has been directed that male headmasters and teachers engaged in all KGBVs in the state be replaced immediately and cameras be installed in the hostels for girls.