"Arrest Her," Uttarakhand Chief Minister Snaps After Row With Teacher

When a teacher protested against being transferred to a remote region, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat told the police to take her into custody

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat tells police to take a teacher into custody

Highlights

  • Teacher arrested on charges of "disrupting an important gathering"
  • Since husband's death, she had been seeking transfer from remote place
  • She was let off hours later on bail
New Delhi:

A 57-year-old teacher in Uttarakhand, who went to Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat requesting a transfer, ended up in jail after a loud exchange that has been caught on camera and widely shared online. The Chief Minister is seen losing his temper and saying: "Suspend her immediately. Arrest her."

It was no idle threat. Uttara Bahuguna, a school principal, was arrested on charges of "disrupting an important gathering". She was let off hours later on bail.

Ms Bahuguna has been working for 25 years in Uttarkashi, around 144 km from state capital Dehradun. Since her husband's death three years ago, she has been fighting for a transfer to Dehradun, where her children live.

On Thursday, she went to the Chief Minister's "Janata Darbar" or public hearing hoping for some progress.

Ms Bahuguna told the Chief Minister she had worked in a remote region for years and now wanted to live with her children. "I don't want my children to be orphans in Dehradun. My situation is such that I can't leave my children or the job. You have to give me justice," she told him.

Mr Rawat, she says, dismissed her request.

The Chief Minister reportedly asked if she had signed any guarantee when she got the job, to which Ms Bahuguna retorted she had not pledged to "stay in exile all her life". The comment annoyed the Chief Minister, who said "Mind your language, you can be suspended".

The teacher started arguing and alleged that she had been victimized. The Chief Minister snapped and shouted, "Suspend karo ise abhi (Suspend her immediately). Take her into police custody."

In the video clip, the teacher is seen screaming at the Chief Minister and shouting "thief, cheats" as she is led out of the meeting.

"I lost my husband in 2015 and my children stay here (Dehradun). I can't leave my children here. I spoke to the Chief Minister but he did nothing. I asked him the reason. I feel helpless. Is this what I get for working honestly and diligently for years? So I called them thieves. I will tell the truth even if god comes before me," she said, breaking down.

uttarakhand teacher

A primary school teacher, Uttara Bahuguna has been working for 25 years in Uttarkashi

The chief minister said his public hearing was not the right forum for transfer requests.

And the state's top education officer said Ms Bahuguna cannot possibly be transferred out of turn.

"More than 58 people are posted in remote areas for longer duration than her. Her number is only 59th. The transfer is done only turn-wise," said Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh, School Education Secretary.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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