Uttarakhand Education Min Assures Justice to Teacher Removed By CM

The CM shouted at a government school teacher, who was protesting for her transfer from a remote area.

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat lost his cool at a woman protesting during a 'Janata Darbar' in Dehradun on Thursday, 28 June, saying that she should be suspended and taken into custody.

The woman, 57-year-old Uttara Bahuguna, has been identified as a government school principal in Uttarkashi's Naugaon. She was allegedly protesting to demand a transfer out of what she calls a "remote area."

Videos of the incident, which were circulated on social media, showed Rawat telling the officials present there, "Suspend her today itself. Take her away... Take her into custody". As police officials attempted to escort her outside, Bahuguna was heard shouting and arguing with the chief minister, who had reportedly rejected her transfer request at the event.

The woman was later taken into custody under Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), but was released in the evening on the same day, reported The Indian Express.

Will Meet Education Minister on 3 July: Suspended Teacher

Two days after the incident, Bahuguna told ANI that she had received a phone call from the education minister who reportedly apologised for inaction from his department.

She added that she was slated to meet the minister on 3 July, and had been assured of a solution regarding her transfer.

I received a phone call from the education minister. He assured me he’ll meet me on 3 July and find a solution to my problem.He apologised when I told him of the injustice done to me by the education department.

RTI Reveals Rawat’s Wife Posted in Same School Since 1996

Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh, School Education Secretary, argued that more than 58 teachers are posted in remote areas for a longer duration than the suspended Bahuguna. Addressing a press conference, Aulakh said that Bahuguna’s number was 59th on the transfer list.

“The transfer is done only turn-wise,” said the secretary.

An RTI query, however, revealed that the chief minister’s wife Sunita Rawat has been posted in a school in Dehradun's Ajabpur Kalan since 1996. She has been posted in the same school even after she received a promotion in 2008, reported ANI.

Uttarakhand Education Min Assures Justice to Teacher Removed By CM
(Photo: ANI)

‘Woman Disrespected, Used Abusive Language’: Rawat

Speaking about the incident later, Rawat said that the decision to suspend the woman teacher was taken as she showed "disrespect" and used "abusive language" at the event.

He reportedly remarked that the ‘Janata Darbar’ was not the right platform for taking up transfer applications, adding, "All transfers of government employees will be done under the state's Transfer Act."

Meanwhile, narrating her side of the story, Bahuguna told The Indian Express:

I have no problem in doing my job, but I’ve been posted in remote areas for 25 years... My husband used to take care of my two children, but after his death in August last year, there is no one to take care of my children. Also, I am too old to work in remote areas.
Uttara Bahuguna

A day later, Bahuguna broke down while talking about the incident to ANI. Asserting that she would raise her voice against corruption and call out the thieves and the dishonest for what they are, she said,“Is this the way you speak? Do I not matter? If a CM talks to a teacher in such a way, then why can’t a teacher give an answer back to him? I have been doing my job sincerely and in a disciplined manner.”

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat too weighed in on the controversy, as he asked the Trivendra Singh Rawat to revoke her suspension.

Our system has become so insensitive that a widowed teacher remained posted in a remote area for 25 years and no one listened to her.
Harish Rawat, former CM and Congress Leader

I Am Proud of You: Suspended Teacher’s Son

Explaining the reason behind his mother’s demand for a transfer, Shubham Bahuguna, in a Facebook post, wrote that without her husband’s support, his mother was unable to travel long distances.

Hi I am Shubham Bahuguna, son of Mrs. Uttara Pant Bahuguna. I want to share something as a grown up mature person and...

Posted by Rudraksh Bahuguna on Friday, June 29, 2018
Mrs Uttara Pant Bahuguna wants her job to be transferred to a more accessible place, to a place where a woman without her husband can travel in peace. Where she can talk to her children everyday, where she can still be the same teacher whom everyone respected and praised. She wants just that.

Stating that his father had been an immense source of support in his mother’s career, he said that after his death, traveling had become difficult for her. Further, working in an area with no mobile reception had made matters worse, he said.

Adding that she had been demanding fro a transfer for the last 10 years, Shubham wrote:

She is fighting for her family everyday. She is doing it for them. She has very few years to retirement. She wants to do this job for her children, so that they can keep pursuing their dreams. Because Life has to go on and everybody wants to give the best to their children.

Signing off, Shubham praised his mother for her hard work and dedication, stating that he was proud of her, while also urging people to support his family in their hour of need.

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