Two girls consume toilet cleaner in Dindigul district after teacher hurls casteist slur

Two teenage Scheduled Caste girl students from Thoppampatti village in Dindigul district, who are studying at a government-aided school in Chinnalapatti, reportedly consumed toilet cleaner after their teacher abused them by their caste name on Thursday.

Following a complaint from the mother of one of the students, Chinnalapatti police conducted an investigation. It is said that for some time Maths teacher Premalatha had been asking other students not to talk to the two girls. When the issue surfaced again on Thursday, the two girls went to the school toilet and consumed the toilet cleaner.

They were rushed to a nearby primary health centre, from where they were referred to Dindigul Government Medical College and Hospital. The doctors said the students were stable.

When the news spread, a large number of women and elders of the SC community at Thoppampatti blocked the road in front of Chinnalapatti police station, demanding the arrest of the teacher.

Superintendent of Police V. Baskaran, DSPs Udaykumar, Raja Murali and Immanuel Rajkumar, and a posse of police personnel arrived at the spot. Revenue Divisional Officer Santosh, Tahsildar Saravanan and District Child Protection Officer Sivakumar also reached there.

The officials assured the villagers of fair and transparent action. However, the villagers insisted that the accused be booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and placed under suspension.

After recording the statements of the two girls, the police directed the school authorities to initiate action against the teacher. Later, the villagers dispersed.

A senior official told the reporters that the school had promised to take action against the teacher as their probe revealed that a girl student had, in the past, jumped into a well and suffered fractures in her legs and hands, due to the teacher’s actions.

Rengarajan, a local Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi functionary, said schools in rural areas should closely monitor the treatment meted out to SC children and offer counselling to them at periodic intervals.

(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on State’s health helpline 104, Tele-MANAS 14416 and Chennai-based Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)

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