A Lady teacher and a clerk of a Panchmahals school have been sitting on a dharna for the last three days to protest against the alleged sexual harassment of the teacher by the principal.
Daksha Amin (32),a history teacher at Navjeevan High School run by the United Education Society (UES) in Tal Savli village of Lunawada taluka,and Rajendra Gadhvi have been on dharna outside the District Education Office (DEO) since Thursday. They are demanding the DEOs intervention to stop the sexual advances by principal Amrish Patel and prevent the school authorities from punishing them for raising their voice against the issue.
Amin said: “Since 2004,I had been repeatedly abused by the school principal. He used to call me to his chamber. One day,he tried to touch me. I told him to behave. When I complained,he apologised,but only to please the members of the school trust.
She said the advances resumed after a couple of months,which irked Gadhvi,a married man with two children. Gadhvi claimed to have witnessed one such occasion. How long can one be silent? There was no one to speak out against it,so I did, he said.
Amin said that she had slapped Patel twice for molesting her. She further said that she had filed a police complaint against the principal in April 2008,but no action was taken. I went to the police after my repeated appeals before the school trust went unheard. Approaching the police was the only option left for me, she said.
The Lunawada police,meanwhile,said that investigations are still going on even as eight months have gone by since the complaint was lodged.
Although no direct action was taken against Gadhvi,the school authorities started boycotting the two,who later stopped coming to the school. Gadhvi quit in December 2004. As he could not meet his children’s education expenses,he approach one of the trustees,Manhar Arsa,in 2006 for a job. I was glad that the trust understood my problems. But someone intervened and had me transferred to a school run in Namnar,which hardly had any student. I guess it was a punishment for speaking for Dakshaben, he said.
Panchmahals DEO G B Patel acknowledged that there was a problem. The teacher may have been abused by the school principal. The members of the trust have said they are ready to provide security to her if she joins again, said Patel.
When asked as to what action was taken against the principal,Patel said it was up to the trust and the police.