news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John| The News Minute | November 11, 2014 | 4.21 pm IST It seems that there is no end to Kerala's chaotic affair with the revolutionary strike – the Kiss of Love. A few days ago, posters appeared on the walls of a school in a Kerala village, saying one of its teachers was an “immoral” woman who “had affairs”. The woman who was being targeted thus, is a schoolteacher and woman’s rights activist Sulfath M, who teaches at the Cheruthazham Government Higher Secondary School in Kannur district. She is facing the heat for purportedly supporting the Kiss of Love protest in Kochi through her Facebook posts. Now terribly upset and worried by the protests against her, she had written a letter to VS Achuthanandan, Leader of the Opposition seeking an end to the harassment directed at her by some persons allegedly belonging to the CPI-M. Sulfath is at the receiving end of serious resentment from school authorities, parents, and students. Posters against her were pasted outside the school in parents' names while some teachers and students took out a protest demonstration against her. But according to media reports she considers this protest as a continuation of the annoyance directed at her by her colleagues and a section of parents, who were upset over her support to a 14-year old Dalit girl, who had been allegedly sexually harassed by a teacher of the same school. Sulfath had campaigned against the accused male teacher and as a result police arrested him and registered cases against the school headmaster as well. Following this she had been facing huge resentment and she was forced to take a long leave. Earlier in November when she went to collect her salary a group of students and teachers shouted “go back” slogans at her. “The accused teacher was arrested after we registered a case against him. Sulfath had visited us many times to discuss the case,” Sudheer Kallen, Sub Inspector of the Pariyaram police station told The News Minute. She has emphasized in the media that her Facebook posts are not the real reason behind these protests. Interestingly, there are no posts by her in support of the Kiss of Love event on Facebook. She had merely Liked the posts made by other supporters.                                           The actual case In the letter she wrote to Achutanandan, Sulfath says: “A Dalit girl studying in 9th standard was asked into the staff room under the pretext of giving a notebook after the school hours and was sexually abused by Mr. A Anilkumar, a teacher according to a written complaint submitted to the school on 17 09.2014 by the girl's guardians; but what followed from the part of the School authorities was an attempt to slight the complaint and to save the offending teacher somehow.” She also alleged in the letter that the Parents Teachers Association executive committee and general body meetings, instead of pursuing the course of justice for the girl victim, the headmaster and a section of teachers accused her of trying to spoil the reputation of the school by spreading disgraceful news in the media. Requesting Achutanandan to intervene with the party so that she could resume work at the school, Sulfath said: “What is quite surprising is the fact that in this case at Cheruthazham, the CPI-M and its mass organisations which used to support the victims of sexual abuse are spreading rumours against the offended child and her mother just because I happened to help this unfortunate victim of sexual assault in getting legal assistance, I am now being singled out and persecuted through rumours and obscene posters in the school and its premises by anonymous entities.”  School headmaster Mohanan M told Times of India that the teacher's behaviour was not suitable for her profession. "Both teachers and students had voiced their protest against her. Her behaviour was also discussed at the school development committee meeting as she had tried to malign the school's image by unleashing a campaign that we protected a teacher who was accused in a sex abuse case. However, we never questioned her freedom or her FB posts," he said Read : The big kiss that threatened Kerala
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