The Pollachi police have registered a case against headmistress Snehalatha, an active participant in the ongoing JACTTO-GEO protests. The educator has been booked under four sections including trying to incite a riot following a complaint from the Coimbatore district education officer after a video of her encouraging teachers to abstain from coming to school made the rounds on social media.
The video that police believe to be recorded on January 22 shows the headmistress in a staffroom questioning why teachers of the Pollachi Girls Higher Secondary School had arrived for work when protests were underway. She warns the teachers that their post and pensions are at stake and tells them that even if they are unable to join the protest, they should avoid coming to school.
" I will also be affected if I lose a day's salary. But is four daysâ€™ salary important or your future? You are not thinking. What will you teach children? You can't protect yourselves. You're not able to avoid school because of those protecting you. You don't have to protest, but don't come to school. We'll handle it. We'll get arrested. But at least don't come to school," she is heard saying. " Only after your hunger everything else will come. Tomorrow if your children have to beg what will you do? Have you never thought about it? You may have a good salary now but you may not have it tomorrow. You don't understand this. This is not a demand. This is the work of 80% of us. Because of 20% of you we will lose it. Even if we get what we ask for, do you have the right to claim it? As a teacher, I have come here to make you think. This government won't do anything, we have to make them do it," she adds.
Speaking to TNM, Pollachi Deputy Superintendent of Police R Jeyaram confirmed that the case was filed based on the complaint District Education officer Velliyangiri.
"We have booked her for speaking against the government. They can protest but there are rules and laws that govern even that," he says.
When asked why her speech was problematic, the DSP merely says, "She was instigating other teachers."
She along with some others, has been booked under section 153 of the IPC (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and section 448 (punishment for house-trespass).