Two school teachers in Bagalkot district of Karnataka are likely to face disciplinary action after it emerged that they allegedly beat students in a classroom after a 500-rupee-note went missing from the purse of one of the teachers.
Ashwini Angadi, a teacher at Raghapur Primary School in Badami Taluk of the district, and her colleague Chandru Das allegedly beat ten students in the fifth standard classroom of the school.
The incident which took place last Saturday, came to light on Wednesday morning after television reporters questioned the school teacher at the school premises. "We received photographs via social media and came to the school to ask what had happened. The teacher admitted that she hit the students after a 500-rupee-note went missing from her bag," says Suresh, a journalist with Suddi TV. The reporters claim that his team was later harassed by the teacher and Gram Panchayat members for asking questions about the incident. "My camera was taken away from me and only returned later," he adds.
Ashwini Angadi admitted that she hit the students. "I have hit the children and it is wrong. I don't deny that. The boy who had taken money, I hit him two times more," she says.
When asked why she hit other students, she tried to justify her actions by saying that the students would not come forward otherwise. "After I hit everyone they opened their mouths and revealed who took the money. Who will admit that they have taken money just like that? No one came forward at first and we hit everyone, when one of the students admitted that he took it," she says.
Members of the Raghapur Gram Panchayat too admitted that the teacher had hit the students but denied that there was anything wrong in it. Badami Block Education Official AS Hattalli said that the incident came to light today and that the officials had decided to let the teacher get off with a warning.
However, in a letter to the Chief Executing Officer of the Zilla Panchayat of Bagalakot, Veena Vijayanand Kashappanavar, President of the Bagalkot Zilla Panchayat, urged that disciplinary action needs to be taken against the teacher and that she should be removed from her position. "In spite of knowing it is against the law to hit students and knowing that they should be teaching the students by example, the teachers have hit the students. We urge you to suspend the teacher, discipline her and issue a notice confirming it," reads the letter.
Under pressure from few residents of the village and from the Zilla Panchayat President, AS Hattalli convened a meeting at the school premises and confirmed that the two teachers had been given three days to offer an explanation. "If we are not satisfied with the explanation given, they will be suspended," he added.