The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teacher in love kept out of class

Panpur (Nadia), Sept. 1: Moushumi Mishra, 27, has been barred from taking classes in the government-aided school where she is a geography teacher ' because she loves a Muslim man and is planning to marry him.

Villagers and guardians of students, who have forced Moushumi to keep out of class for the past three days, descended on Panpur Adarsha Vidyapith today to demand her removal.

The demonstrators threw stones and assaulted assistant headmaster Subhankar Ghosh at the school in Panpur village near Haringhata, around 50 km from Calcutta.

Police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control. Yesterday, Moushumi's father, Rabi Mishra, had to inform Haringhata police station after she was gheraoed in the school. Mishra, a CPI district committee member and former teacher, is also being harassed by neighbours.

The villagers had come to know about 10-15 days ago that Moushumi was planning to marry Rafiqul Mondol, a teacher in another school, whom she has known for several years.

'Such a crime by those pursuing other professions might be tolerated, but how can a teacher, supposed to build the nation, commit such an unforgivable offence' asked Sanjay Adhikari, whose son Prasun is a Class IX student in the school.

Kutubiddin Mondol, whose daughter, Jhuma Khatoon studies in Class VI, echoes him. 'If a Hindu teacher marries a Muslim man, what will the children here learn' he asked, demanding that she be sacked immediately.

While Moushumi holds a Masters degree and has appeared for B.Ed from Kalyani University, Rafiqul has an M.Phil in education from Kalyani University.

A resident of Panpur, he teaches education in Baro Jaguli Gopal Academy, a few kilometres from Moushumi's school.

Ghosh and other teachers sat in the school, sipping tea as the people outside shouted slogans, demanding Moushumi's removal.

'Why don't you announce an indefinite closure of the school' demanded teacher Birendra Nath Biswas. 'I would never have loved a Muslim girl.' Ghosh did not comment.

Moushumi has told the school authorities that her affair is a 'personal matter'. She also alleged that some of her colleagues had conspired against her.

Students said she is 'a very good teacher'. 'My students are with me. I know it, and that's what counts,' Moushumi said.

Local CPM MLA, Bankim Ghosh said a local committee meeting has been called to discuss the matter. 'Some people are taking advantage of the situation and instigating others to become violent. We are not taking the matter lightly.'

Additional SP, Nadia, Biswarup Ghosh said: 'Security has been tightened around the school and her house.'

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