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'Lesbianism Against Culture': Bengal Minister Backs School That Forced Girls to 'Confess'

The denial came after media reports suggested that 10 girls were summoned to the office of the headmistress on March 8 and were made to sign such statements in the school’s bid to “discipline students who were up to mischief."

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:March 14, 2018, 8:51 PM IST
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'Lesbianism Against Culture': Bengal Minister Backs School That Forced Girls to 'Confess'
West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee.(PTI Photo)
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Kolkata: West Bengal’s education minister Partha Chaterjee on Wednesday stirred a controversy by supporting the Kolkata school that had allegedly forced a bunch of Class IX students to sign “confessional statements” that they indulged in “lesbian” acts within the school’s premises.

The minister, claiming that “lesbianism is against our culture”, said the school was free to take any action it deemed fit. “We believe we should maintain our culture. If the school found it was indecent, it is free to take action against those students,” he said.

He further said that he had learnt that the students were lesbians through media reports and has asked his department to investigate this issue. “We have sought a report form the school,” he said.

The minister’s remarks came despite the Kamala Girls’ School rubbishing the allegations that 10 girls were summoned to the office of the headmistress on March 8 and were made to sign such statements in the school’s bid to “discipline students who were up to mischief”. Parents of the girls reportedly stormed into the headmistress’s chamber on Monday and confronted her for the act.

Speaking to News18 on Wednesday, the acting headmistress Sikha Sarkar said, “No such incident happened in our school. There were some disciplinary issues and some miscommunication with parents and it was resolved in a meeting with the students and their parents.”

“I have strong objection to the word ‘lesbian’ used by a section of the media. While running a school we face several issues related to student’s future and discipline. It’s our duty to guide them towards right direction. I don’t know from where the issue of lesbianism came into the picture,” she added.

Asked about the so-called ‘confession letter’ she said: “We have not asked anyone to write such a letter. I would like to request you, not to sensationalize the matter. I think it was blown out of proportion.”

The acting headmistress, however, admitted that the girls were made to write a statement saying they indulged in “mischief”, but refused to explain what that word meant.

Parents, however, alleged that the school authorities were using the incident to shift focus from the alleged molestation of a student by a non-teaching staff of the school on February 9. The accused staff, Malay Barua, was later arrested.

Talking to News18, father of one of the students who was allegedly forced to write the so-called “confessional letter” said: “There were three eyewitnesses to the molestation and all four girls involved in the previous incident were among the 10 girls who were forced to sign the statement on March 8. The incident was even videographed by school authorities.”

He asserted that nothing has been sorted out between the school authorities and the parents as claimed by the acting headmistress.

President of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), Dr. Kalyanmoy Ganguly, refused to comment on the matter on grounds that he was busy with the Board exams.

Dr. Saumitra Mohan, Commissioner of School Education, also denied knowledge about the incident.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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