A woman teacher, 35-year-old Archana Bacche, with the
Rambhau Mhalgi Secondary and Higher Secondary School in Kadus, Khed taluka, was sacked after she complained about sexual harassment by some people in the school.
Bacche's abrupt termination after having worked for seven years in the school in Kadus - 50 km from the city - has so upset some students and their parents that they have revolted against the step taken by the management.
The parents even warned the management that they would withdraw their children from the school, but so far Bacche has not been given her job back.
Bacche, who was working as a full-time teacher for English and economics in the school, said some staff and members of the school management had put up objectionable content about her on the Internet.
She said the harassment prompted her to lodge a complaint against some people at the Khed police station in January. "Seven years ago, I joined the school on a clock-hour basis, but after completing post-graduation in 2009, I became a full-time teacher in the school," she said. "Some people from the management and those (working) in the school did not like the fact that I had got a full-time post and they decided to do everything to remove me from the post."
She said much harassment followed and she finally decided to act when obscene material was put up on the Internet. She said when nothing happened of the police case, she approached an NGO and even the Women and Child Welfare Department.
"After I became a full-time employee, some people put objectionable and obscene matter about me on the Internet and tried to malign my image as the management wanted to bring in some other person in my place," she said. "After I did not get justice from the police, I contacted an NGO called Sakhi and also sought justice from the Women and Child Welfare Department and complained under the Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act 2005."
After receiving the complaint, the Women and Child Welfare Department sent Bacche's application to the Education Department. On receiving the application, the then deputy education officer Piraji Patil visited the school and investigated the matter, but Bacche said in the end Patil advised her to reach a compromise.
"As I had to work with the school in future, I also decided not to hold grudges with the school authorities and compromised," Bacche said. "So I continued working with the school." Bacche said she was soon served a shock by the school in the form of termination of services.
"On May 26, 2012, the principal of the school, B S Borawake had sent a letter in which it was stated that my services with the school have been terminated with effect from 30-4-2012 and also mentioned that I need not report for work in future," she said.
Bacche said there were other women teachers in the school who were also facing harassment from the school management and even the peons of the school did not let go of any opportunity to tease the teaching staff.
School principal Borawake said he had sent the termination letter as the management had asked him to do so. "There is an old dispute between Bacche and the management and I do not have any idea what it is," Borawake said. "The termination letter was sent on the orders of management."
Saying he was now transferred to another department, Patil, the deputy education officer who had visited the Rambhau Mhalgi school to look into the matter, confirmed that Bacche had been subjected to sexual harassment in the school, but said the problem was that in the police investigation it could not be determined who had defamed Bacche on the Internet.
Students stand by teacher
About 15 girl students of the school from Std XI have raised their voice against the management decision to sack Archana Bacche and asked the school to hand them their school leaving certificates as they did not want to continue studying there. Demanding Bacche be reinstated, one of the girls said that the new teacher who had replaced Bacche was not able to teach them English and used rude language while teaching.