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College teacher ‘shoved out’ in front of MP

Calcutta, Nov. 17: A senior lady teacher of a girls’ college in central Calcutta has alleged she was manhandled and driven out of a governing body meeting by the secretary and the teacher-in-charge in the presence of Trinamul MP Sultan Ahmed, the panel president.

Zarina Khatun, the head of the Urdu department of Milli-Al-Ameen College for Girls who is one of the two teacher representatives of the governing body, complained that the secretary and the teacher-in-charge had pulled and dragged her by her shoulders but the MP, instead of opposing it, threatened to sack her.

“I was shocked when the secretary (Mohammad Jahangir) dragged me by my shoulders,” Khatun said. “I was even more surprised to see the way our president supported the secretary’s act instead of asking him to behave.”

Ahmed, Jahangir and some other members were inducted into the panel in October last year. The governing body is packed with loyalists of Ahmed, a local strongman, source said, adding that Khatun was one of the teachers who had refused to toe his line.

The meeting had been convened to discuss allegations against Khatun and her colleagues Baisakhi Banerjee and Parveen Kaur. They had been accused of insubordination, misbehaviour with the teacher-in-charge and governing body members, irregular attendance and encouraging malpractices during exams.

Ahmed said he wanted Khatun to stay away from the meeting because the agenda was about her conduct but she insisted on attending it. “No one manhandled her (Khatun). She was only asked not to attend the meeting.”

Khatun and her two colleagues, who were recruited during the Left regime, alleged that they had been branded “CPM supporters”. They said the president and the secretary “harassed” them regularly on minor issues.

“The governing body is desperate to get rid of the three teachers. Ahmed and his men are trying to put pressure on the three so that they quit the college,” a source said. Ahmed has allegedly been threatening the three teachers with dire consequences if they did not resign, the source added.

“From admission to recruitment, the governing body is taking decisions that we cannot support and now, we are being victimised,” Banerjee said.

Education minister Bratya Basu said holding governing body meetings in the absence of government representatives was an “irregularity”. “If I receive a complaint about any such irregularity, appropriate action will be taken,” Basu said.

Basu had earlier said political persons could be members of college governing bodies but they should not politicise education.

The government in October nominated Chittaranjan Mandal, a Jadavpur University teacher who now heads the School Service Commission, and Debashis Lohar, another JU teacher, to the college governing body but they were allegedly not called to its meetings.

Two former government nominees, Ahmed acolytes, attended today’s session.

Sources said Ahmed was not happy with the new nominations. “Zarina Khatun had lodged a complaint with us a few days ago asking us to send us an advisory to the college not to hold a governing body meeting in the absence of the government nominees,” said Avijit Chakrabarty, the vice-chairman of the state higher education council.

Ahmed allegedly allowed Khatun to attend the meeting on the condition that she would not speak even once.

“They all kept on bringing false allegations against me and some of my colleagues but I was compelled to stay mum,” Khatun said.

Shabina Nishat Omar, the teacher-in-charge of the college, refused comment. Secretary Jahangir did not take calls.

Earlier, former Trinamul MLA Arabul Islam, the governing body president of Bhangar College, had been accused of storming the staff room and flailing his arms in rage, sending a jug crashing into a lady teacher’s chin.