A primary school headmistress and her aide were arrested on Saturday on charges of hurting religious sentiments after parents and schoolchildren complained to the Deputy Commissioner that they allegedly cooked beef inside the school in Town police station limits of Jharkhand’s Pakur district on Friday. However, officials said that no sample of cooked or raw meat was recovered.
Some students of the school in Chota Mohlan village, along with their parents, reached the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Friday afternoon and complained against the cooking of alleged beef using utensils kept for mid-day meals on the school premises. After the DC ordered education, civil administration and police officials to probe the matter, teams reached the spot late on Friday evening and an FIR was lodged on the basis of the Block Education Officer’s statement. Rosa Hansda and her aide Birju Hansda, residents of the same village, were arrested and sent to jail on Saturday.
Pakur Superintendent of Police Shailendra Barnwal said: “The meat was for her own consumption but initial inquiry revealed that she had used utensils meant for the mid-day meal and cooked it within the premises. We have not recovered any sample of meat.” Barnwal added that the act did not appear to be intentional and there was no previous complaint against Rosa on this issue.
Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Pakur) Shravan Kumar said: “By the time we were asked to reach the school, which is around eight km from (Pakur) town, there was no meat sample left. But parents and students were agitated over the use of utensils and using the school premises to prepare meat.”
Police sources said that Rosa had asked Birju to get the meat and prepare it as there was nobody at her home. The region has a fair concentration of the Santhal tribe who eat beef and Rosa is a tribal Christian, sources said. District Superintendent of Education (Pakur) Raja Ram Sah, who also visited the spot, said that the headmistress had been employed there for the past many years and there were no complaints against her. “The mid-day meal had already been served. Many students had gone home. But some hung around and the local residents also got a whiff of the meat being cooked. They raised an alarm,” Sah said.