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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said action would be taken against two teachers accused of sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl at a Kolkata school. Mamata also said “outsiders” should not take advantage of the present situation to create unrest, as it would harm other students. Speaking at the annual convention of the state minority affairs and madrasa education department at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, she said: “I feel schools should be allowed to function properly. The careers of students should not be affected. Some people are trying fish in murky waters. They are trying to gain political mileage out of it. One should be aware of such people.”
The chief minister also asked school teachers to be careful in handling such situations. “A lot depends on teachers. Teachers have to be careful about handling students, especially in co-ed schools. Those who have committed the crime will be punished. But that does not mean everyone is guilty. That does not mean we have to close down every school. Some people are trying to stay in the limelight by organising protests. It is their plan to close down the school. The management and teachers of schools need to be careful so that such incidents are not repeated,” she said.
Mamata also lent her support to protesting parents, and said they have every right to do so. “Of course the parents have every right to protest against such incidents. They have the right to organise protests and resist any attempts to stifle their voices. Action will be taken against the guilty, and the CISCE board should also look into the matter,” she said. Meanwhile, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters that the state government would ask the school where the alleged incident took place to produce a certificate regarding its infrastructure.
“The school is affiliated to the CISCE board, and it (the board) should check whether its affiliated schools have proper infrastructure. When the entire teachers’ fraternity of the state has been maligned by such an incident, we cannot remain mute spectators… We will ask the school to submit a certificate regarding its infrastructure,” he said.
Centre reluctant to release funds: Mamata
The chief minister also said the BJP-led Centre is reluctant to release funds for minority development in the state. “As it is, the Centre has frozen funds for many sectors in West Bengal. But they are especially reluctant to release funds for minority development projects. What do they want? They want me to stop work for minority development,” she said.
The chief minister also said the Centre must remember that “minority” does not only mean Muslims. “Minority means Muslim, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis. How can they dictate that I will only interact with one community and ignore others?” she said.
Mamata also took a dig at the Swachh Bharat Mission and questioned its outcome, pointing to the pollution in Delhi. She highlighted that Sri Lankan cricketers had to wear masks on the field on the second day of the third Test at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi.
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