8 teachers held for 'forcing' Dalit students to clean toilets

Tirunelveli: Faced with a series of agitations, police today arrested eight teachers for allegedly forcing Dalit students to clean toilets in a government-aided high school at a village in the district.

Backed by some political outfits, local Dalits have been staging a series of agitations in the past weeks demanding action against the teachers alleging that they were forcing the students of the school in Keelapathai Pandithankurichi near Kalakkad.

They charged that Dalit students had been cleaning the toilets for the past more than eight months. Though complaints were given under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, no action was taken by the Police.

The issue came to light 20 days ago and police today arrested eight teachers based on complaints by a few political parties. However, police refused to reveal the identity of the teachers besides the sections under which the cases had been registered against them.

According to the protesters, children studying in class VI to VIII were reportedly forced to clean the toilets after school hours. The students were allegedly threatened by teachers of severe punishment if they failed to clean toilets. A student even refused to go to school as he was asked to clean the toilets, they said.

The Left parties, All India Youth Federation and some Dalit welfare organisations also joined the protest by the village residents. District Collector M Karunakaran had already assured that necessary action would be taken against those found guilty.

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