Thiruvananthapuram, June 30: The Kerala government today offered relief to the school headmistress transferred after she publicly expressed annoyance at the education minister’s delay for a campus event.
K.K. Urmila Devi, who was posted at the Government Cotton Hill School here, will now take charge at the adjoining Government Model High School, chief minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly today, adding the decision was based on an appeal by the teacher.
According to the previous order, Devi was transferred to a school over 30km away. The revision of the order followed mounting public pressure and Opposition protests to what was seen as a vindictive action by the government.
Devi had last week met Chandy and tendered a written apology. In her letter, she said she had only expressed the anguish of the students at Cotton Hill School over the loss of class time because of minister P.K. Rabb’s delayed arrival and had not intended to insult him.
The minister is a leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, the second-largest partner in the Congress-led ruling coalition.
Rabb, who had arrived 90 minutes late at the June 16 school event, did not react to the teacher’s comments then but later ordered an inquiry at the end of which Devi was issued a memo.
The memo said that Rabb had had to wait outside as the school gates were shut and Devi came to the dais only after the minister had taken his seat. The memo gave her 15 days to explain her conduct, but the transfer order came before the period was over.
She then moved the state administrative tribunal against the order but failed to get any relief, following which she met the chief minister.
Devi reportedly told Chandy that she wanted to continue at Cotton Hill for health reasons. Her husband is a cancer patient while she herself is undergoing treatment for a brain-related disease.
The fact that Devi is scheduled to retire later this year is also believed to have weighed on the government’s mind.