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Schoolgirls Lathi-Charged For Demanding More Teachers

In a shameful incident which was recently recorded, several schoolgirls were injured in a lathi charge incident which took place in Choru village, district Tonk, Rajasthan when a group of 200 students had blocked the Aligarh-Tonk highway, demanding appointment of teachers in the school. The police, in order to clear the highway, charged the students and booked several villagers who were supporting the girls in charges of disrupting the law and order. FIR reports were lodged under various sections, against the villagers and the students by the police. However no efforts have been made to lodge complaints against the police who was responsible for their wrongdoing.

The protest went on for sometime and the students’ demands were genuine enough. The senior secondary school had recently got its affiliation to conduct boards from the following year. However due to lack of funds, the school could not rope in new members of the faculty. The school had no teachers in Sanskrit, English and Social Science and the students had been demanding for the same.

The students had demanded for an early appointment of the teachers as the boards were nearing. The protest was mainly led by class 10 and 11 students. However, they were removed by the police by force who charged them with batons. The local reports suggest that the several girls had to jump from a bridge to avoid being hit by the police. As the police started cracking down the students, several other local boys joined to help them and pelted stones at the police. In this horrendous act, eight girls got seriously injured and seven of them are still undergoing treatment at the district hospital in Tonk.

Tonk SP Deepak Kumar had admitted that the police’s approach was extremely aggressive. Such a step was resorted to without any communication to the students. The SHO responsible has been suspended. Representatives from various civil society organisations led by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties met Rajasthan DGP Manoj Bhatt and demanded strict action against the responsible policemen. The activists also wrote to Chief Secretary C S Rajan, demanding free treatment for all injured girl students and appointment of teachers at their school.

According to the Right to Education no child must face any kind of corporal punishment. Instead of sending the police, the district administration should have themselves gone to speak to the students. PUCL national secretary Kavita Srivastava said that the District Collector or District Education Officer should have supervised the matter and the girls should have been encouraged in their quest for good education and not beaten up.

One of the girls from the school, Priyanka Swami, a class 10 student, said that the officials were drunk and that he had pulled their clothes and abused them. Priyanka and her friends were admitted at the government hospital. Such an act of callousness and indifference comes at a point of time when the state should be striving to support the educational needs of the students by appointing sufficient teachers and providing quality education thereby improving the conditions of the schools.