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Court seeks explanation from officer for calling bearded teacher ‘biggest militant’, desecrating religious place

Screengrab of the viral video

Srinagar: A senior officer of Education department in Surankote area of Poonch has purportedly called a bearded Muslim teacher the “biggest militant” and allegedly desecrated the mosque in the vicinity of the school on her visit to the institution.

Sub-District Magistrate Surankote has sought an explanation from the officer for her unwarranted behavior.

According to the letter the incident has taken place at Yaseen Public School, Dundhak Khanikhodi on April 1.

“This man is the biggest militant. Just look at his face…,” Kamlesh Kumari who is  Zonal Education Planning Officer (ZEPO) is seen yelling in the video.

A local Imam of a mosque Farooq Ahmad Misbahi in his address to the media alleged that  Kumari besides calling Farooq a militant, she  had desecrated the Madrassa and two mosques in the vicinity of the school by going inside wearing shoes.

“If wearing a beard makes you a militant, then even the PM (Narendra Modi) won’t escape,” Misbahi said.

Saying that all the communities in Poonch district are living with communal harmony, Imam urged  DC Poonch and SSP Poonch for strict action against Kumari besides her immediate transfer.

Misbahi said that Kumari is known for her rude behavior in the area.

According to a letter issued by SDM Surankote, Saleem Ahmad, ZEPO has been asked to submit her explanation within two days. 

“A video is viral on social media in which you are seen using derogatory language during [a] visit of [the] Yaseen Public School, Dundhak (Khanikhodi) on April 1,” reads the explanation letter.

“A deliberate and malicious act , intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs is not expected from a government officer/ public servant,” the letter reads, adding, “You are seen uttering, using words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the feelings of a particular person.” 

It said that Kumari’s action “has caused public mischief and enmity, hatred and ill-will in the public at large.”

“It is also viral on social media that during your visit to Yaseen Public School, Dundhak (Khanikhodi) on 01/04/2021, you also entered the Mosque without removing your shoes.”

The SDM’s letter says that the ZEPO also “forced the Head of Institution to open a specific room of school whose keys were lying at Poonch at the headquarters of the School”.

The letter further alleged that Kumari was not wearing a face mask and violated COVID-19 SOPs.

It said that the ZEPO “harassed the school management on the pretext of inspection and used very harsh and derogatory language against a particular person of school management which has caused hatred and unrest in the society.”

The SDM asked the ZEPO to explain her position within two days “as to why disciplinary action may not be recommended against you to the competent authority.”

In case of non-receipt of reply within two days, the SDM said that it shall be presumed that she has nothing to say in her defense and “action under rule shall be recommended to the competent authority.” (KNS)