Kanti Chauhan, the principal of dalit school in Gujarat has also alleged that the sarpanch had pressured him to divert government funds dedicated to the school for other purposes in the village

A Dalit school principal in Gujarat’s Amreli district died by suicide on Friday (October 20).
In a video message he recorded before his death, 52-year-old Kanti Chauhan alleged that the sarpanch of his village had defamed him on the basis of his caste, according to news reports.
“I come from a lower caste but I am doing the work of teaching. Please don’t snatch it away from me. You are trying to malign us by using our caste as a weapon, and it is shameful for you as a sarpanch,” Chauhan said in the video according to the Times of India.
He also said, “[The] sarpanch has been threatening and asking me to hand over the grants which I had received. He [the sarpanch] also circulated a defamatory message about me and my caste in social media groups of villagers,” the New Indian Express reported.
The sarpanch – identified as one Mukesh Borisagar – allegedly pressurised Chauhan to divert school management committee (SMC) funds disbursed by the Gujarat government for other purposes in the village, TOI reported.
Schools covered under the Right to Education Act, 2009 are required to constitute SMCs comprising of teachers, parents and local representatives.
These committees are empowered to monitor the functioning of their school and recommend development plans for it.
Local police told TOI that Borisagar and another person named Vipul Kyada had successfully ‘conspired’ for Chauhan’s removal as principal, although he continued to be in charge.
A police complaint filed by Chauhan’s wife said that Chauhan’s decision to hold two-hour-long extra classes before school timings was unpopular among some parents, TOI reported.
Chauhan had died in hospital while being treated for consuming poison.
Members from the Dalit community in Chauhan’s village reportedly gathered in front of the village police station on Saturday and refused to accept his body.
But they relented after police detained Borisagar and filed a case against him, Kyada and three teachers from Chauhan’s school.
“We have registered a case under section 306 [abetment of suicide] of the IPC and various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” J.P. Bhandari, deputy superintendent of police in Amreli, said according to the New Indian Express.
TOI cited Bhandari as adding that local police had assigned 90 policemen to apprehend the accused.

Courtesy: The Wire

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