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Teacher in Shimla Booked, Suspended over Alleged Sexual Harassment of Eight Students, Remains Absconding

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Teacher in Shimla's rohru sexual harrasment case of students

Shimla-A teacher of Geography at Government Senior Secondary School, Tikkar, in Rohru, Shimla district, was booked by the local police for alleged sexual harassment of girl students. On Wednesday, the alleged lecturer was also suspended. The Director of Higher Education, Dr Amarjeet Kumar Sharma, confirmed the report.

The lecturer was identified as Sanjay Deshta- a national award winner. He was awarded in 2017 while he was posted at the Government Senior Secondary Boys School, Shimla, (Lalpani).

A case has been filed under Section 351 A of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on the complaint of the Principal and the Sexual Harassment Committee of the school.

Reportedly, on October 23, 2019, some girl students of the school had approached female teachers with a complaint that the said lecturer used to call them in the laboratory, take selfies with them forcefully, touch them inappropriately, and ask them to watch explicit multimedia content on his cellphone. The matter reached the principal, who referred the case to the sexual harassment committee of the school. The committee probed the case and received written complaints from eight students of different classes. Following it, the principal had informed the local police on October 25, 2019.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rohru, Sunil Negi, confirmed that a case has been filed against the teacher and efforts were being made to arrest him. However, the teacher was yet to be arrested as he remains absconding. In this case, the local police has been alleged of delay in filing an FIR despite the fact that the case was highly sensitive as it pertained to harassment of minor students. 

Along with the suspension, the Director has also ordered a probe by a high-level committee under the supervision of Deputy Director, Education. The committee would file its findings to the Director and the State government within three days.

The Director also said that a committee will also be formed to take a decision over striping the alleged lecturer of the awards he was conferred at the state and national level.

The safety of children, especially girls inside educational institutes still remain a critical problem that requires more attention from the state government. 

In May 2019, the principal of a government school in Badsar of Hamirpur district was booked over sexual harassment of a 16-year-old minor girl.

In May 2018, a teacher posted at the government middle school, Mayfield, Shimla, was dismissed from government services by the Department of Elementary Education after he was found guilty of sexual harassment of class-VI girl student. He was found to be a repeated offender. 

In April 2018, a chemistry teacher employed at a private college in Hamirpur district was booked under POCSO Act for alleged sexual assault on one of his minor students. A video of students thrashing the teacher was widely circulated on social media.

In September 2017, Himachal was shocked after three staff members -cook, clerk/accountant, and sweeper-  of a Balika Ashram (child protection home for girls) situation in Chilli of Tissa region in Chamba district were arrested for alleged sexual harassment of six girls 

Other than ensuring the safety of children, there is a dire need to recruit professional child counsellors. Traumatized minor victims of such cases always require counselling, which could involve several sessions. Also, counsellors offer a safer environment where children would be more comfortable to come ahead and speak of such sensitive problems. 

Recently, Centre’s Novodya Vidyalaya recruited professional counsellors for the majority of its schools in India, which is an appreciable step. The state governmnet in Himachal Pradesh should also consider doing the same in its government schools.

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Video: Girl Who Jumped from Bilaspur College Building Tells Why She Attempted Suicide

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Bilaspur College Suicide

Bilaspur-Video of the girl student of Bilaspur Degree College, who had jumped from the third floor of her college building on December 3, 2019, has appeared on social media. The girl can be seen in the hospital talking about how continuous mental harassment by one of the teachers led her to attempt suicide.

“I attempted suicide because I could not take any more torture in the classroom because of the teacher,”

the girl said when asked about the reason.

“She would only point out my mistakes and ask questions just from me, and then ask me to leave the classroom,”

the girl added.

On being asked since when the teacher had been behaving this way, the girl said,

“For the last one month, every day during the class, she would point me out and ask me to leave the classroom.”

The girl had informed her mother regarding this, but she asked her to ignore it.

“I told my mother regarding this issue a few days back. But she told me to ignore her because she is a teacher,”

the girl said.

Her mother confirmed that she talked about a teacher’s indifferent attitude.

“I had told her to ignore it, but I did not expect that the situation would reach such a point,”she informed.

The girl informs, the day she jumped from the building, some students had seen her crying and even inquired as to what was wrong.

“I thought of approaching the principal with a complaint, but then I went blank and jumped,”

she said.

The college staff with the help of some students rushed the girl to the District Hospital Bilaspur. She received critical injuries and has fractured both her legs. She was later taken to Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, for treatment.

In its initial investigation, the local police had taken statements of some people but could not talk to the girl as she was unconscious.

Now, as the video, with the girl’s statement, is being circulated on social media, the alleged teacher is likely to face police questioning.  So far, not much has been given out by the police regarding its investigation and action taken against the teacher alleged of harassing the girl.

Principal of the college, Ram Krishn Sharma said, if a teacher is found responsible for abetting the girl to attempt suicide appropriate action would be taken against him/her.

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HPBOSE Faces Flak for Charging Rs 2000 Late Fee for Compartment Exams

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HPBOSE Compartment Exams 2020

Shimla-Students of Class 10 and 10+2 have complained of hefty late fee imposed by Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education, Dharamshala, for the compartment examination. The actual fee was Rs 450 per subject and now, after the due date of submission of applications, the students are paying Rs 2450 per subject with a late fee of Rs 2000.

The students enrolled in government schools mostly hail from the weaker section of society who cannot afford private schools due to their hefty fee structures.

Two major student organizations of Himachal Pradesh, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Federation of India (SFI) condemned this fee hike alleging that the students could not apply timely due to an error on the part of the HPBOSE.  The Government is encouraging private schools with its policy of closing government schools, SFI said while staging a protest on November 30.

“The Board invited online applications but did not issue the payment gateway link to school managements, therefore, students could not apply in time. Secondly, when the gateway started to work, the fee was hiked from Rs 450 to Rs 2450,”

said ABVP.

“Now, the Board is washing its hands off and holding students responsible for not applying before the last date without late fees,”

ABVP said.

The Organization said it is not justifiable for the Board to blame students for its mistake.

The Organization gave an ultimatum to the Board and demanded that this decision should be withdrawn by Monday and students should be allowed to apply with a fee of Rs 450. It warned of a state-wide agitation if the decision is not withdrawn.

Speaking to Himachal Watcher, the Public Relation Officer, HPBOSE, Anju Pathak, said that the board did not make any hike in late fees. The provision for late fee already exists.

Refuting the allegations that the payment gateway was not working, she said,

“It was working fine. We have looked into it. It’s just the carelessness on the part of the students,”

the PRO said.

“About 85 percent of students had filled their forms before the last date. They had the chance to apply between 9 to 31 October with a fee of only Rs 450. The last date was extended and the students were given a second chance to submit their applications till November 15 with a late fee of Rs 1000. It’s the third chance for which already notified fee of Rs 2000 is being charged,”

she told HW.

“A group of students today met the Chairman, who convinced them that only notified late fee is being charged. The students have demanded an extension so that they could fill their forms,”

Further, student outfits also raised questions over the poor quality of clothing provided to the students of the government schools under the Atal School Uniform scheme.

The government issued distributed free uniform to lakhs of students after a delay of two years. However, despite this delay, the quality of the clothes provided is very poor, ABVP said. Similar poor quality uniforms were distributed during the regime of the previous government and a penalty was imposed on the contractor. However, the student outfit said, imposing penalty doesn’t change the quality of already distributed uniforms.

The Organization suspected a possible scam behind it. The government talks about offering quality in education when it can’t even distribute good quality uniforms to students.
The state government also faced flak over the distribution of poor quality bags of the same size to all students. These bags have become a mere show-piece.

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HPU, College Students in Shimla Protest Against Brutal Gangrape, Murder of Hyderabad Vet

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protest in shimla over hyderabad gangrape case

Shimla-The brutality of the gangrape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Hyderabad has led to public outrage across India. Though the rate of crime against women did not go down even after similar pubic outrage was witnessed in the Nirbhaya case in 2012, once again nation is shocked over the heinousness involved in the committed crime.

On the evening of November 27, 2019, the doctor was trapped, gang-raped, smothered to death and then set on fire in the underpass of Shadnagar Outer Ring Road in Hyderabad. Next day, the charred body of the victim was recovered from the said spot. The police investigation led to the arrest of four accused, two of whom are truck drivers and the other two are cleaners. The accused were identified as Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jollu Shiva and Jollu Naveen. They were booked under Sections 376D (gangrape), 302 (murder),201 (destroying evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. A magistrate from Shadnagar sent all four accused to judicial custody for 14 days on Saturday.

Meanwhile, three policemen including a sub-inspector and two constables were suspended for causing a delay in filing an FIR.

Protest and outrage also reached Himachal Pradesh with students of the Himachal Pradesh University and colleges paying tribute to the victim and staging protests. On November 30, girl students  of HPU gathered at Summerhill Chowk to pay a tribute to the victim.

Taking up the issue of women safety in the country. The students termed government’s “Beti Bachao’ program a political gimmick.

“Such crimes have become very common nowadays. Himachal is also not untouched and such crimes are reported regularly,”

said Sapana, a student. 

“Kotkhai Gudiya case is still not solved and such delay encourages criminals,”

she said.

“Priority to women safety remains confined to state and centre government’s announcements in election campaigns. The ground reality is altogether different,”

said Reena, another student.

On November 30, students of Shimla’s colleges also staged a protest in front of the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, demanding justice for the victim. The students said the rate of crime against women is increasing and females are not feeling safe due to regular occurrences of such heinous, ruthless crimes.

“Average of 50 cases of rape are registered every day in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, half of the cases of rape are not registered in India, and average over one lakh cases of rape are reported every year, which is alarming,”

said Sachin, one of the protesting students.

“India stand embarrassed in front of the World due to repeated occurrence of such heinous crimes. The government need to be more serious and take necessary measures to ensure the safety of women,”

said Komal, another protesting student.

Protests were also reported from various colleges in Shimla where students targeted the government over playing politics on such issues instead of working toward the eradication of crime against women.

As per the report issued after the police remand, the trap that the accused had laid for the victim did them in. It also said that the accused had downed one-and-half bottles (around 930 ml) of alcohol before committing the crime. They inflated the tyre of the two-wheeler she had parked near a toll plaza and then trapped her on the pretext of helping her. 

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