Monday, 30th October 2017

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'I wriggled out of his grasp and ran'

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By AS TOLD TO JHINUK MAZUMDAR
  • Published 28.06.13
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The Class XII student whose complaint led to the arrest of her school principal on charges of harassment two days ago had suffered in silence for 18 months before breaking down in front of her father.

The principal would allegedly make a pass at her whenever he found her alone, his unwelcome overtures peppered with lewd remarks. She was scared to speak out lest he jeopardise her career. On Tuesday, she couldn’t take it anymore and confided in her father, who decided to lodge a complaint with Shakespeare Sarani police station.

The 18-year-old girl tells Metro how the principal allegedly targeted her from the day she joined the south Calcutta school as a student of Class XI.

I was in the shed in front of the treasurer’s office (to the left of the main gate) waiting for my father to arrive when one of the woman peons came up to say that the principal wanted to see me. It was around 2.10pm and my friends had already left. There was nobody else around except two woman peons standing outside the principal’s office, from where the treasurer’s office on the opposite side is clearly visible.

I had a feeling that he would call me. Tuesday was not the first day that I had been summoned to his office. Alone.

I entered the room and there were just the two of us. He grabbed me and said: “Why is my darling so upset? Why don’t you come to meet me?”

I was dead scared. The principal’s room has tinted glass through which everything outside is visible but nothing can be seen from the other side. He called me near the window and said: “Please see whether your father is coming.”

“No, sir, it’s fine,” I replied, but he insisted.

When I went near the window, he held me tightly from the side. I was shivering. I somehow wriggled out of his grasp and ran out of the room.

Five minutes later, around 2.20pm, my father arrived to pick me up. I was feeling sick and helpless, and I kept rubbing my cheeks hard. My father cracked a joke in the car but I was in no state to respond.

At home, I threw my bag and told my parents I would not go back to school. My father asked me what had happened. I blurted out everything. I had had enough.

I hadn’t complained to anyone all this time because he was the principal of the school. I was worried about my career. But how much could I take? He had targeted me since the beginning of my academic session in Class XI. He would often call me to his room and try to touch me.

Sometimes I asked my friends to accompany me but they wouldn’t because he hadn’t summoned them, he only wanted to see me. I did tell my parents on one occasion that my principal had made a pass at me and they wanted to give him a warning. I asked them not to because I was worried about the possible repercussions.

On one occasion, I had gone to school for tutorials with my friends in the middle of a vacation and he came to know that it was my birthday. He said we should go out. When I said that my parents were very strict and that I wasn’t allowed to go out even with friends, the principal asked me to inform him when my father was out of station.

I know he has targeted other girls too — some are still in school and some have passed out. I hope strict action will be taken against him.