A controversy erupted after Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat ordered the arrest and suspension of a primary school principal following the latter's angry outburst at the chief minister's Janata Darbar (people's court).
The incident happened on Thursday at the 'Janata Darbar' of the chief minister in Dehradun when the principal of a government school in Nagaon area of Uttarkashi district made a transfer request.
According to a government release, principal Uttara Bahuguna "showed disrespect and used abusive language” during the Janata Darbar. She was told to put forward her request in a decent manner but she kept on misbehaving.
Bahuguna had requested the chief minister that she be transferred from the remote location to Dehradun. Her claim was that she has been posted at remote locations for the last 25 years and she now wanted to live with her children.
On being asked by Rawat if she had given any undertaking while securing the job, Bahuguna shot back that she had not stated "she will live in a forest throughout her life". On this, the chief minister lost his cool and asked her to put forward her request in a decent manner but she kept on "showing disrespect", the release said.
The woman said that her husband had died and she did not want to leave her children as "orphans in Dehradun".
"My condition is such that neither can I leave my children alone nor my job," Bahuguna said. The school principal also reportedly hurled abuses at the chief minister going on to call him corrupt and a chor (thief), after which she was forcefully removed by women police officers. Government sources said that the principal was briefly detained and later suspended.
After the incident, Rawat said that request for transfers must not be brought to a platform meant for hearing public grievances. "All transfers of government employees will be done under the state's Transfer Act," he said.
Meanwhile, after the incident snowballed into a controversy, the state's school education secretary Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh said that any further action on the transfer request will only be taken in accordance with the rules. She also said that the suspension order was for the interim and the future course of action will be decided after a thorough enquiry and after hearing Bahuguna's side.
She also said that Bahuguna was 59th in the list of transfer requests. "More than 58 people are posted in remote areas for longer duration than her. Her number is 59th. The transfer is done only turn-wise. She can be transferred only within the district. Her demand that she be transferred to Dehradun falls under inter-district transfers which, as of now, isn't allowed by the rule," Aulakh said.
The education secretary also said that initial investigation revealed that the principal was suspended twice — in 2008 and 2011 — in the past for long absence from duty. Aulakh said the matter is being investigated by a block education officer. She said the officer has been asked to submit a report in the matter within three weeks.
However, Bahuguna said that she has served as a disciplined employee of the government and she only retorted after the chief minister ordered for her to be removed. "Ise le jao, ise le jao, kyu vo is tarah se mujhe bol rhe the, kya mera koi puchne vala nahi. Main ek mahila shikshika hu," Bahuguna broke down while narrating her ordeal.
#WATCH Uttara Pant Bahuguna, the teacher who was suspended by #Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat after she argued with him yesterday over her transfer, breaks down while talking about the incident. pic.twitter.com/mex8Z4ofLl
— ANI (@ANI) June 29, 2018
Speaking to The Print, Bahuguna also alleged irregularities in transfers and appointments in the state. She said she was transferred from her earlier posting at Jogath after all seats at the school fell vacant. She, however, alleged that another person was appointed at the school, who continued to draw a salary for two years, to run an empty school. The posting was only cancelled after much hue and cry. Bahuguna said she will compile the data regarding those principals who have been transferred despite signing the same government bond, which she did. The bond warrants state government teachers to be posted in schools in remote hill-stations till the government sees fit to transfer them.
The Congress party reacted strongly to the news. The state Congress said the chief minister's action was disappointing and argued if the wives of the BJP leaders could be given choice postings then why not Bahuguna.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Rajya Prathamik Shikshak Sangh Secretary General Digvijay Singh Chauhan said he would speak to the authorities and request them not to take any harsh action against her.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 30, 2018 01:05:10 IST