The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teacher accused of molestation
- Police treat mass petition as an FIR while court refuses bail

Alipurduar, Feb. 4: A teacher of a high school here was denied bail and remanded in jail custody for 10 days, for allegedly molesting a schoolgirl.

The accused, who teaches in Nimati High School, 23 km from here, was arrested yesterday and produced in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate of Alipurduar.

The judge ordered that Sudhangshu Shekhar Saha be kept in jail custody till the 13th of this month.

According to police, on January 21, Saha, a work education teacher, tried to molest the Class IX student while talking to her near his quarters adjacent to the school. He had asked her to meet him there in the evening.

Though the guardians of the girl did not lodge any complaints with the Kalchini police station under which the school falls, 19 students of the institution submitted a mass petition to the police a day before yesterday.

The same day, there was an election of office bearers of the managing committee of the school, but it was cancelled after an agitated crowd of parents started pelting stones at the school building, alleging that the authorities were trying to protect the accused.

The situation was brought under control with the arrival of the police. On the basis of the petition, which has been treated as an FIR, the police arrested Saha on Friday and forwarded him to court yesterday.

One of the family members of the girl said they did not want to file an FIR for fear of social stigma.

“Besides, we were scared that with only a year to go for the board exams, she might be victimised by the teachers,” he said.

The school authorities have called an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss Saha’s suspension. The accused has also been evicted from the school quarters.

Parimal Dey, the headmaster-in-charge of the school, while confirming Saha’s arrest, said: “He has been picked up for molesting a student and has been remanded in jail custody. Tomorrow, there will be an emergency meeting of the managing committee and the school will remain close for the next two days.”

He added that the school could not initiate action, as the girl’s parents had not lodged any complaint.

K.B. Dorji, the additional superintendent of police, Alipurduar, said: “On the basis of a mass petition, we have started a case against the accused teacher. We have already started an inquiry.”

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