NHRC to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh: pay Rs. five thousand each to 88 girl students forced to remove their clothes by the three teachers now facing criminal charges (03.07.2018)

PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi, 3rd July, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has recommended that the Government of Arunachal Pradesh pay Rs. 5,000/- each, as monetary relief, to the 88 girl students of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, District Papum Pare, Arunachal Pradesh, who were stripped off their dignity when forced to remove their clothes in front of the entire school, as punishment by the three teachers, when none among them confessed for having written vulgar words against the head teacher and another student on a piece of paper on the 23rd November, 2017.

The Commission's directions have come after the reports received from the State Government confirmed the incidents and informed that the act of three teachers had been found inhumane and cruel. Their action on minor girl students was against the basic human dignity and decency. After enquiry, the Education Department placed one teacher under suspension, while the two others were removed from the services. The matter was reported to the police station and a case Cr. No. 112/17 had been registered U/Ss 354 (b) of 34 IPC read with Section 21 (1) of POCSO Act. The three teachers were arrested and later on released on bail. The affected girl students had been imparted emotional and psychological counseling.

The State Government has also served a show cause to the Chairman, Arunachal Farmers' Development Society, Sagalee, which is running the KGBV, seeking explanation why the MoU signed between the society with SSA, Rajya Mission, Itanagar, should not be terminated. It has also been directed that male Headmasters and teachers engaged in all KGBVs in the State be replaced immediately and it is also proposed to install cameras in the girls hostel.

The Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development has informed about a series of guidelines have been issued to the State Governments. These also include guidelines on the safety and security of girl students in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas.

The Commission has observed that the report from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh indicates that the concerned State authorities have failed in their responsibility to protect the Right to dignity of the 88 girls for which vicariously they are liable. The criminal proceedings initiated against the guilty teachers have been noted but the State Government should also pay a sum of Rs. 5,000/- each as monetary relief to the 88 girl students. It has also asked for a compliance report along with proof of payment within four weeks.

The Commission registered a case suo motu on the basis of a media report regarding the incident on 1st December, 2017. While issuing the notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Arunachal Pradesh and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development in the matter, the Commission had observed that the sordid act of the school teachers, as reported in the media, was indeed inexcusable. Teachers are always highly respected in the society as they play the role of a true guide and protector for their students. Such an inhuman and insensible act cannot be expected from them. Stripping minor girls, in front of the entire school, is unethical and cruel act committed by the teachers who were their lawful custodians and protectors, at that time.

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