A video of District Magistrate (DM) Sanjay Kumar Singh of Lakhisarai district in Bihar berating the headmaster of a government primary school for wearing kurta pajamas to school has gone viral.
During a surprise inspection of Balgudar Primary School which falls under the Sadar block of the district on July 6, the DM became enraged upon seeing the headmaster in kurta pajamas, a traditional Bihar dress.
“You should be talking to people who are looking for votes instead of teaching. You look like a public representative who doesn’t look like a teacher,” the DM told the principal.
“The deputy minister made a surprise inspection with local mukhiya Makhru Singh wearing a kurta-pajama,” a head teacher said on condition of anonymity.
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“Bureaucrats often forget their limit and treat poor teachers as their slave,” he alleged and added “We can no longer tolerate this indecent act of DM.”
Singh was not ready to listen to the director’s woes, however.
“Do you know who you are talking to,” the DM asked.
The DM’s attitude towards the headmaster sparked strong reactions in different sectors of society while teachers’ associations condemned the act.
“But in Bihar, there is no dress code for teaching and non-teaching staff and teacher in kurta pajamas in traditional attire cannot be grounds for pay cut or withholding salary” Md Aftab Firoz, President of Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) Teachers Association, said Araria adding, “In Bihar most of the schools do not have electric fans and in these circumstances, the gamchha is used by teachers to wipe their sweat”.
Despite repeated apologies, the deputy served him with a show cause notice and asked the district education officer to submit a report within 24 hours.
“You are not suitable for the position of manager and therefore I will withhold your salary,” he said.
The DM of Lakhisarai had paid a surprise visit to the school after villagers pointed out to him the poor infrastructure and lack of electrical facilities.
Expressing his disappointment with the treatment he received, Principal Nirbhay Kumar said, “I have been working as a teacher for 30 years and I like wearing kurta pajamas from the very beginning and this is the first time in my department that I was treated in such a rude way.
Throwing his support behind the director, Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) leader Pappu Yadav in a tweet to the Chief Minister of Bihar demanded the immediate suspension and withholding of the Deputy Minister’s salary.
The DM of Lakhisarai and the District Education Officer (DEO) could not be reached despite repeated attempts for comment.