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Girl branded ‘witch’ returns to school as admn begins probe

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OST Bureau
Telkoi (Keonjhar), Jan 6:

The Keonjhar district administration on Sunday began investigation into the shocking incident in which a Class I tribal girl student of Talasahi Sevashram tribal residential school was driven out by a school teacher on the shocking ‘ground’ that she was a ‘witch’ who sucks the blood of hostel inmates at night.

Additional district collector and the present collector in-charge Sangram Keshari Swain, who suspended the lady teacher for calling the girl a witch after visiting the school for an on-the-spot inquiry, later told reporters that stern action would be taken against the headmistress of the Sevashram.

Meanwhile, the tribal girl student of Class-I who returned to the Sevashram on Sunday, said she would continue her studies and become a good citizen in future.

The shocking incident came to light when the 7-year-old girl from Juladera Kenduadari Munda Sahi village of Khuntapada panchayat under Telkoi police limits returned to the Sevashram with her father on January 3 after the winter vacation. But the teachers- branding her a witch- refused her re-entry to the Sevashram hostel .

Dejected and shocked over the incident, the girl’s father lodged a complaint with the district collector.

Acting on the complaint, a team of senior district officials including the in-charge collector accompanied by sub collector Pratap Chandra Hota and District Education Officer Krushna Chandra Nayak visited the school and inquired about the incident.

As a measure, the district administration relieved the headmistress of her charge and entrusted it to Madhusmita Priyadarshini, the sikshya sahayak of the school.

During investigation, the team came to know about a similar incident that had taken place in this Sevashram last year in which the school teachers refused to allow Gurucharan Jamuda, a 9-year-old tribal boy permission to stay in the residential school after branding him a witch.

“The boy is now studying in class-II at a primary school at Durlavpur”, informed his father Budhilal Jamuda to OST.