Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday asked police to arrest a school principal after an argument at a public meeting in Dehradun. The 57-year-old was released by the evening, The Indian Express reported.
Rawat said the principal was suspended for “showing disrespect and using abusive language” during the session, where he listens to the public’s grievances.
Uttara Bahuguna, the principal of a government primary school in Uttarkashi district, claimed she had been posted in remote locations for the last 25 years. She began to argue with Rawat when he rejected her request. A video of the incident showed Rawat shouting several times, “Suspend her immediately,” and then said, “Take her into custody.”
Bahuguna was also heard using abusive words for Rawat after the police tried to take her away from the venue. She was taken into custody under the Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Rawat later said that request for transfers should not be brought to a platform meant for other public grievances. “All transfers of government employees will be done under the state’s Transfer Act,” Rawat said.
“I have been working honestly, but they threw me into the swamp of corruption,” Bahuguna told ANI. “Why would I not raise my voice against them? If they are thieves, I will call them thieves only.”
She told The Indian Express that she was posted in remote areas for long. Her husband used to take care of their two children but he died in August last year, she said. She also said she was too old to work in remote areas.
School Education Secretary Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh said Bahuguna was suspended because she “violated decorum” as a teacher, ANI reported. She said that the matter will be investigated, and officials will take a final decision only after they hear Bahuguna’s version of events.
She added that 58 people have been posted in remote areas for a longer duration than Bahuguna. “Her number is only 59th. The transfer is done only turn-wise,” Aulakh said. Moreover, she added, Bahuguna can only be transferred within the district according to the Uttarakhand Transfer Act. “Her demand that she be transferred to Dehradun falls under inter-district transfers which, as of now, isn’t allowed by the Act.”
Congress leader Harish Rawat said that the government should resync the suspension.
“Our system has become so insensitive that a widowed teacher remained posted in a remote area for 25 years and no one listened to her,” the former chief minister told ANI. “Advise the chief minister to direct police to revoke her suspension.”
The Congress party’s state unit said the chief minister should have the courage to listen to the problems of people. “Citizens have the right to speak about their problems at the janata darbar, but abusive words should not be used,” the party said in a tweet.