A whistleblower from Andhra Pradesh is being allegedly hounded by the authorities of the Kendriya Vidyalayala, Gooty for his attempt to expose financial irregularities committed by the school. Not only did the authorities terminate Nagarajuâ€™s contract and sack his wife from the school, they harassed their children so badly that their youngest son had to transfer to a different school.
Nagaraju, who belongs to the SC Mala community, was a contract security worker at the KV in Gooty while his wife Lakshmi Devi was working as a gardener.
Claiming that many financial irregularities were taking place in the school, Nagaraju sought financial details through an RTI in 2013. He also filed numerous RTI queries pertaining to the recruitment of teachers and admission of students under the Right to Education Act.
Infuriated by the constant RTI queries, the then Principal, Karim Khan, started harassing his family, alleged Nagaraju.
In 2013, Khan allegedly physically assaulted Nagarajuâ€™s eldest son, Mohan Babu, forcing Nagaraju to approach the National SC/ST Commission.
Nagaraju has three sons â€“ Mohan Babu studying in Class 9, Srinivasulu, studying in Class 7 and Mohan Krishna, studying in Class 4. While Babu and Srinivasulu continue to study at the KV, Krishna took a transfer to another school.
Though Khan was transferred to a different school, Nagaraju alleged that the succeeding Principal, Bharati Devi, too meted out the same treatment against them.
â€śThe change in the Principal didnâ€™t help us. The harassment continued. They hassled me constantly at the work place. It then extended to my three children who are studying in the same school. They were discriminated so badly that my youngest son, Mohan Krishna, had to discontinue from the school,â€ť Nagaraju told TNM.
Nagaraju alleges that his contract as security guard was terminated on frivolous grounds of not paying the ESI and EPF money on time, and that his wife was also sacked in quick succession in 2017.
Unable to take the harassment meted out for the past four years, Nagaraju approached several bodies and administrators, including District Collectors and the district court.
As all these state bodies failed to address his grievances, Nagaraju recently went to Delhi along with his family and sought an appointment with HRD minister Prakash Javadekar asking his intervention in the matter. They also wrote to BJP MP and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ramdas Athawale.
Mohan Babu wrote a letter detailing the plight and harassment they faced from upper caste teachers and requesting the Union Ministerâ€™s intervention.
In his letter Babu wrote, â€śMy brother and I are studying in the same school. The upper caste staff are discriminating against us and not allowing us to take part in any extra-curricular activities like sports, dance, painting, and obstructing us from attending Sanskrit classes.â€ť
Speaking to TNM, Babu said, â€śFor the past one year, the Principal and other teachers have been harassing me severely. I faced social boycott. I was not allowed to speak with others. The teachers would wait to pounce on me if I made any mistake. As a result, I stopped going to school for three months.â€ť
Due to the three-month break, Babu couldnâ€™t pass his Class 9 exams. He failed the Social Sciences exam by two marks.
â€śAfter I resumed my schooling, my classmates werenâ€™t willing to share their notes. They said that the teachers would bear a grudge against them if they did so. So I wrote my exams with whatever notes I had available.â€ť
Nagaraju suspects a conspiracy in Babu failing the exam. He alleged that when they went to check the exam papers, out of the six additional papers that Babu wrote only two were there.
â€śMy son took six additional papers for the subject, but when I approached the school for re-evaluation, I found only two papers were there. They must have torn out the other four papers,â€ť he alleged.
When TNM spoke to Principal Bharati Devi, she refused to comment on the issue and said, â€śWe are following all the protocols and responding to the concerned authorities about the allegations levelled against us.â€ť