Chowgachha, Aug. 16: A teacher of a school in a Nadia village allegedly asked a Class VII boy to pull down the pants of four of his classmates who had not done their homework last Thursday.
The four — and most of their 140 classmates, including many girls who watched in horror from another section — have stopped coming to school since then.
After the boys’ parents told neighbours about the punishment, around 500 villagers yesterday demonstrated in front of Chowgachha Panugopal High School, about 75km from Calcutta, while Independence Day celebrations were on.
Headmaster Tapas Dutta kept the programme on hold and heard the protesters out. He called an emergency meeting of the school managing committee and decided to showcause Ruma Das Sharma, the 30-year-old geography teacher.
“She has been asked to reply within a fortnight. We may have to suspend her as the allegation is grave,” said Manindranath Bala, the secretary of the committee.
The teacher has gone on maternity leave, Bala said. “However, that will not prevent us from taking action.”
Sujit Sarkar, one of the students punished on Thursday, said the teacher told them to stand on a bench with their pants down for half an hour. Himal Sardar could not stand the ordeal and ran out of the class after he was stripped.
“Although the boys and girls sit separately in two sections, there is a common window through which the girls can see us. Many of them closed their eyes while we were being punished,” said Bachchu Sarkar. “We have told our parents that we will not return to school as we won’t be able to show our faces to our classmates.”
The headmaster today submitted a report to the district inspector of schools, Dilip Khanra. “I was stunned. Strong action will be taken against the teacher if she is found guilty,” Khanra said.
The teacher was not available for comment.