Assam teacher rape linked to complaints against irregularities

Rape

The rape of a primary school teacher inside a tea estate in Darrang district of northern Assam last week has been linked with her allegedly raising her voice against irregularities within the school's functioning, including the absence of mid-day meals.

Two people were arrested for the rape Wednesday after they were identified by the victim, and a third, Mustafizur Rahman, who is the secretary of the school management committee (SMC), was arrested two days later. "Rahman was arrested on statements of the victim and another teacher who said he threatened them for lodging complaints against him with the authorities," Fakhruddin Islam, Additional SP of Darrang told The Indian Express. "Rahman had warned the two teachers after the district authorities ordered a probe into the irregularities last month," he said.

The teacher was raped while she was returning home from school on October 1.

A section of locals, including the students' guardians, had lodged complaints with the Dalgaon Block SSA office and the district administration in Mangaldoi regarding the alleged irregularities.

There are, however, no records of the victim having lodged a formal complaint, but sources say she would often ask Rahman why mid-day meals were not being served, and also asked the students and their guardians to demand the meals.

Pradip Bhagbati, the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Darrang found similar irregularities: "When I visited the school three weeks ago, no mid-day meals were being served. Students said they had not seen a mid-day meal for over a year. There were no utensils in the school and the kitchen was locked.

"Despite that, records show that the SMC secretary had taken four to six quintals of rice every month, as well as the money required for cooking," he said, adding that Rahman was not present when he visited the school.

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