|Tyres being burnt in Mangaldoi on Wednesday to protest the rape of a primary school teacher. Picture by Nabajyoti Mahanta
Mangaldoi, Oct. 2: A 36-year-old person has been arrested for allegedly raping a primary school teacher yesterday at Dalgaon in Assam’s Darrang district. The incident sparked concerns over security of women teachers posted in remote areas.
A strong protest by teachers, residents and civil society groups, including road blockades at Dalgaon, about 85km from Guwahati, and Mangaldoi, preceded the arrest.
Around 500 teachers from the district assembled at Dalgaon LP School (not the victim’s school) and police station, seeking action against the two accused, the other being a 19-year-old.
The AJYCP also staged a protest while residents of Dalgaon blocked NH15 for about two hours. The Brihattar Asomiya Yuva Mancha, Darrang unit, has called a 12-hour Darrang bandh tomorrow. They have demanded security for TET teachers working in remote places. There are nearly 100 students and two teachers in the school. Residents of Chikonmati said the 21-year-old teacher was returning alone from her school as the other teacher was on leave. Two youths allegedly stopped her inside the tea garden and raped her.
Darrang additional superintendent of police Fakhrul Islam told The Telegraph that the police had picked up six persons and one of them was identified by the victim.
“Based on an FIR by the teacher, we launched a search in Chikonmati tea estate and its adjoining villages and arrested Mushlimuddin alias Matlib, a resident of nearby Khairakata village. A case has been registered at Dalgaon police station under Sections 341, 387, 376(2G) and 379 of the IPC, “ Islam said.
The incident has sent shockwaves among women teachers who have been posted by the state education department in remote areas of the state. The state government had last year appointed new teachers who had cleared the Teachers Eligibility Test.
“We have been working with full dedication and honesty in the remote areas of Dalgaon, obeying the government’s order. We are happy to teach the children in the rural areas but are feeling insecure after the shocking incident,” a woman teacher, who joined the protesters at Niz Dalgaon, said. The TET-qualified women schoolteachers also complained that goons demanded donations from them in some areas.
As teachers and members of the local students’ union staged protests, education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the school and held discussions with the police and Darrang district administration for prompt action.
He told The Telegraph in Guwahati, “The school is situated inside a tea garden, just 400 metres from the highway. Two youths raped the teacher. Police have already arrested one and identified the other. My department will closely monitor the case and will forward a request for trial in a fast-track court.”
Fishery minister Basanta Das and Darrang deputy commissioner Sohrab Ali visited the spot and promised prompt action against the culprits.