Nepal | July 07, 2020

Teacher accused of molestation, primary schoolgirls request school authorities for investigation

Ujjwal Satyal
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Kathmandu, February 16

Nineteen girl students of Lalitpur-based Shree Narayan Basic School — some as young as nine years — have accused their social studies teacher, Nanda Prasad Niraula, believed to be in his 50s, of molesting them during school hours.

In a hand-written letter submitted to Principal Sabita Silwal on Friday morning, the 19 students, all below 13 years, accused the teacher of ‘caressing their back, touching their frontal parts, touching their private parts and acting obscenely’. “We cannot tolerate such behaviour. Nanda sir behaved in such a way. You are requested to investigate,” reads the letter addressed to the principal.

The letter was written on Thursday and 19 girls signed it.

Silwal alleged that similar complaints were filed against Niraula in the two schools where he used to teach earlier. “He was transferred from Patan Secondary School in Patan a few years ago to Kalidevi Basic School in Lakuri Bhanjyang after receiving similar complaints. He was transferred to our school around a year ago,” Silwal said, adding Niraula had also faced similar accusation in Kalidevi school.

“Lady teachers in our school were aware of his behaviour and kept him at a distance,” Silwal told THT.

After receiving the letter, the principal called a board meeting of the school management committee where the issue was discussed. Teachers were divided on whether to take legal action against Niraula or not. Some argued that ‘it would give a bad name to the school’.

After the meeting someone from the school called police from the nearby Lubhu police beat. Police then arrested Niraula. He was later transferred to Satdobato-based Metropolitan Police Circle only to be released on personal recognisance this evening.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Mitra Bandhu Sharma at MPC Satdobato said, “Niraula was detained until this evening. We hoped to receive a formal complaint against him, but not even the school administration filed an FIR. So were forced to release him.”

According to Spokesperson for the Office of Attorney General Sanjiv Raj Regmi, law requires that in the case of children, somebody representing their parents, guardians or school must file the first information report against the perpetrator.

Chairman of the school management committee Rameshwor Karki said although the accusation might be true, police also needed to investigate if the allegations were made under the influence of someone who was against Niraula. “Most of the accusers are from Grade III and IV. Very few senior girls have signed the complaint letter,” added Karki.

Eight students of Grade III, nine girls of Grade IV and two girls of Grade V have signed the letter. The school has classes up to Grade VIII.

Karki claimed that Niraula was slated to be promoted as principal after a few months.

Principal Silwal told THT over phone that she was under pressure to keep the case under wraps, but she had made up her mind to file an FIR tomorrow with the support of local leader

A version of this article appears in print on February 17, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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