Students lock Odisha ashram school, leave for homes in protest

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Laxmipur (Koraput), Sep 2:

Ashram schools run by the ST & SC department of the Odisha government have been in news recently for all the wrong reasons and this time it is an Ashram school in Koraput where nearly 400 students including boarders have left for their homes after locking the school office and gate to register their protest against alleged ‘misdeeds’ of the headmaster.

Around 400 students of the Ashram School at Champi under Laxmipur block in Koraput district left for their homes on Monday demanding immediate transfer of headmaster Bishnu Charan Jethy.

Agitated students ransacked the garden and fences of the school, pelted stones at the residence of the headmaster before locking the gates of the school and the office. They also left behind a hand written letter at the school gate.

The students in the letter held the headmaster responsible for the bad quality food served to them and accused him of physically assaulting them.

Students told reporters that the situation in the school was not going to improve as long as headmaster Jethy remained in the post.

The students had demanded for the headmaster’s transfer a week ago following which officials of the School and Mass Education department had visited the school for a spot inquiry. But strangely enough, the department transferred two other teachers and left the headmaster untouched. It is this which sparked the unrest in the school, the students said.

“We had repeatedly approached the administration to seek the transfer of the headmaster. We had even told the local MLA about the problems in the school and he too had promised to get him transferred. But that turned out to be a false promise. We are not going to return till the headmaster is transferred and the transfer order of the two teachers is cancelled” the students told reporters.

Education has taken a back seat here and we are not going to open the gate till our demand is fulfilled, said a student of the sevashram school.

Another student alleged that the headmaster used to force them to do daily hostel chores and beat them up if they refused.

Thereafter, the boarders walked en masse to Toyaput Chhak, five kms away, and boarded buses to leave for their homes.

While the accused headmaster Jethy was not available for his comments, a district official said an inquiry would be conducted into the matter.

District welfare officer (Koraput) Jagannath Soren said, “I don’t have the power to transfer a headmaster. I have intimated the matter to the higher ups.As an immediate measure, we have sent the headmaster to the head office on deputation and are trying to pacify the agitating students.”

“We will conduct an inquiry into the allegation leveled by the students and necessary action will be taken,” he said.

While 275 students stay in the hostel, 205 are day scholars, studying in Class VI to X.

The school is run by ST and SC development department.

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