The state education department on Wednesday suspended a government primary school teacher based in Aligarh district for allegedly posting “anti-national and anti-government comments” on his Facebook account.
Dharmendra Kumar, 35, a Dalit, is posted at a primary school in Alipur locality, Bijauli block. “In the posts, Dharmendra is allegedly congratulating the Pakistani cricket team for winning cricket match. In another post, he writes that Jammu and Kashmir is not part of India as Goods and Services Tax (GST) was not applicable there. The complaint letter forwarded has 10 screenshots of his Facebook posts attached,” Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) of Aligarh Dhirendra Singh Yadav, who has been tasked with conducting an inquiry into the matter, told The Indian Express.
“Other posts include objectionable comments made against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Prima facie, Dharmendra was found guilty and has been suspended today on charges of making anti-national and anti-government remarks. We will also be seeking help of police in the inquiry. On the basis of the detailed inquiry report, the decision over lodging of FIR will be taken,” he added.
Yadav said he has handed over the inquiry to Block Education Officer, Bijauli, Kailash Pandey, asking him to submit a report soon. “I have yet to meet Dharmendra Kumar to get his statement recorded. I have not yet gone through his Facebook account. Local intelligence unit of the Aligarh police are also trying to contact Dharmendra,” said Pandey.
The action was taken following directives from UP Minister of State for Primary, Secondary and Higher Education Sandeep Singh, who had allegedly received a complaint from another government school teacher. Singh then ordered an inquiry and the teacher was suspended on the basis of a preliminary probe. Additional Director (Basic Education), Aligarh, Girijesh Chowdhary said he had received a letter from Singh’s office about a week ago. The minister’s office had also instructed him to get an inquiry done into the matter.
When contacted, Dharmendra Kumar told The Indian Express, “I myself am a cricket player, and so congratulated the Pakistan cricket team when they won a match on June 18. I did not make any anti-national comment. As regards to my post on Jammu and Kashmir, I merely questioned why GST is not charged there. I had only shared a post which had a picture of the prime minister standing next to a mahila sainik. I don’t remember what I had written on that post.”
The cricket match mentioned was the final of the ICC Champions Trophy, held between Pakistan and India in June this year.