Jharkhand school teacher beaten up by students was demoted for alleged casteist slurs, says official

According to Deputy Development Commissioner Karan Satyarthi, the school teacher, who was allegedly thrashed by students in Jharkhand’s Dumka district on Monday, was removed from the post of the school principal on complaints of using caste-based slurs.

A video of students thrashing teacher Suman Singh and a school clerk went viral online and officials said the teacher suffered minor injuries. According to officials, students thrashed him after a teacher allegedly did not give him “practical exam evaluation marks” in the Class 9 exam conducted by the Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC). The students said they got only “marginal marks”.

Pahariya High School in Dumka’s Gopikander block has 245 students, all from the Pahariya community that belongs to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), and five teachers.

Satyarthi, who is also the project director of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency in the district, said the tension between the teacher and the students started four months ago.

“Sometime in April, students were unhappy with the respective headmaster, Suman Singh, as he used to hurl caste-based abuses. At the behest of the students, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered and we recommended their transfer. However, the headmaster was demoted to the post of a teacher in the same school.”

Satyarthi said the incident happened at a time when the issue of caste-based humiliation appeared to be resolved. “But on August 29, the teacher was assaulted. Prima facie, there was some problem in the evaluation of the students. However, we are inquiring about the matter.” According to officials, no one has been arrested in this case so far.

District sources said some students are disciplined and some “border on criminal behavior”.

A source said: “We do not want the academic life of the students to be affected by any issue and hence we are going ahead with full dedication. However, once the matter is clarified, we will initiate legal action against the students as well and we will take action against them. We are also planning to shift some of the students to other schools. We have called the parent-teacher meeting and we are trying to understand the reason behind such aggression.”

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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