A 15-year-old Dalit student was allegedly asked by her teacher to take off her clothes on suspicions that she was cheating during her exams held in September, The News Minute reported on Wednesday.
The girl’s mother filed a police complaint on the next day and a first information report was registered with charges under Indian Penal Code sections 509 (action intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 504 (intentional insult) 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty). The FIR also includes sections under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act
However, no arrests have been made so far. The police have said that they are still collecting evidence in the matter, while the school authorities have refuted the allegations.
During her exam on September 23, the teacher suspected that the minor was cheating because she had to use the washroom a few times. The girl’s mother has said that her daughter did so because she was menstruating that day.
The teacher had allegedly asked the girl to come to a washroom used by the faculty and then told her to strip in the presence of a sanitary worker, to check if she had hidden a phone somewhere.
The girl’s mother has also filed a complaint with the school, the Telangana State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights and the Child Welfare Committee.
In her complaints, the child’s mother has mentioned several instances of humiliation and rebukes from the same teacher, The News Minute reported. She also cited several incidents when her daughter was allegedly scolded in a harsher manner, while other students were only issued warnings.
The complainant claimed that the treatment meted out to her daughter will lead to life-long trauma.
“Knowing the pattern of how she [the teacher] is treating my daughter and the several incidents that took place clearly indicate that this prejudice is illogical and deliberate and it is fair to assume this is due to the colour of skin of my daughter and her caste background,” the minor’s mother wrote in her complaint to the Telangana State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, The News Minute reported.
The mother said that when she approached the school authorities on the matter, the principal had dismissed her allegations and accused her daughter of lying. The complainant said that instead of addressing the incident, the principal highlighted that the girl had been found cheating during an exam last year.
However, the school has refuted the allegations against the teacher and said that an internal investigation had been conducted. The school’s principal Padmalaya Sarma also claimed that checks were routinely done during the exams, but the student had not been asked to take off her clothes.
“The parent had come with the complaint,” Sarma told The News Minute. “We have submitted all the evidence. After doing a thorough inquiry, it was found that nothing that was mentioned has happened. All the evidence was collected and handed over to the investigation agencies.”
Meanwhile, the police said that they were still examining the CCTV camera footage from the school along with other evidence. “We have not closed the case,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Malkajgiri, Rakshitha K Murthy told The News Minute. “It is not my case, the Additional Commissioner of Police [Shiva Kumar] has to come. We are still collecting evidence regarding it.”