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‘Insulted’ teachers stall classes after thief slur

Bolpur, Sept. 6: Teachers of a high school in Birbhum’s Mallarpur have not been taking classes for the past three days as students allegedly called them “chor (thief)” during roll call.

“When we called out the roll numbers on Saturday, instead of saying upasthit or present sir, the students said ‘midday meal chor’ or ‘chor’,” a teacher of Dharani Deben Shiksha Niketan said, adding the prank was played by students of Classes V to X.

On August 31, a team led by the assistant inspector of schools (secondary), Samar Saha, had come on surprise inspection to the school and found “anomalies” in allotment of rice for midday meal.

A source said: “When the team members asked the cook about the quantity of rice allotted every day, he said 25-30kg, but the register maintained by the school authorities showed 50kg.”

The students apparently came to know about the matter. From September 1, the students started calling the teachers “thieves” during roll call.

When a teacher entered Class VI, he saw “chaal chor shikshak (rice-thief teacher)” written on the blackboard.

On Monday, many teachers did not come to school. Those who came didn’t take classes.

A teacher said: “It is not possible to take classes if this goes on. We were insulted. We have told the headmaster that we will not take classes.”

Classes have not been held since Saturday.

Villagers led by Trinamul Congress workers demonstrated in front of the school and gheraoed headmaster Chanchal Das for two hours today to protest the alleged anomaly in rice allotment. They, however, did not say anything about classes not being held.

Apparently justifying the anomaly, Das said: “We mentioned on the register a higher amount than the rice we allotted to get more funds. If we get more funds, we can serve better food to students. If we don’t do this, we won’t be able to meet the expenses.”

Most students didn’t comment on the allegation that they had called teachers thieves. A Class V boy said: “Everybody were saying the teachers had misappropriated midday meal funds. That is why we called them thieves.”

Biswanath Chakraborty, the block development officer of Rampurhat block-I, said: “I have asked the midday meal supervisor to carry out a detailed inquiry (on the rice anomaly).”