NAMAKKAL:A 35-year-old teacher was arrested and remanded in judicial custody here on Friday for allegedly forcing a Dalit boy to remove faeces from the classroom at a municipal school at Ramapurampudur here.
R Vijayalakshmi, a teacher at the municipal elementary school in Ramapurampudur, was booked under sections 3 (1) (x) of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by the Namakkal town police following a complaint from R Veerasamy, father of Sasidharan, a Dalit student.
“We conducted a probe following a complaint lodged by the boy’s father and booked the teacher under SC/ST Act before arresting her”, K Manoharan, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Namakkal, said.
The teacher, incidentally a caste-Hindu, was lodged at the women’s special cell, Salem after being produced in the Judicial magistrate’s court in Nammakal.
The complainant, belonging to Arunthathiar community, alleged that the teacher forced his 7-year-old son studying Class II to remove the faeces after a Class III student Mohammed Sheriff defecated in the class room on Thursday.
“My son could not do anything but to remove the faeces with his hands due to pressure from the teacher”, he alleged.
Sasidharan too had told the police officials during inquiry that he was forced by the teacher to clear the faeces.
Outraged over the incident, parents and relatives of the child, backed by political leaders and social outfits, including Ramasamy, district secretary of Untouchability Eradication Front, and M P Kumanan, district secretary of VCK took up the issue with the authorities, sources said.
Tension prevailed for a while as the irate Dalits laid siege to the school demanding stern action against the teacher. A large contingent of policemen was deployed to avert a flare up.
The Dalits accused the teacher Vijayalakshmi of discrimination against their wards for long. “She deliberately prevented our children from participating in dance events during the annual day last year. Then we took up the issue with the Head Mistress who struck a compromise. Later, our children had to perform separately”, a Dalit woman, rued.
A three-member team of the Elementary Education Department is going into charges against Vijayalakshmi who has been serving in the school for seven years.