Amodini Paul ‘framed': Some don't want her to be headmistress, sources say

The controversy surrounding a Hindu teacher in Naogaon was an attempt to cover up a long-running corruption by a small section of the school authorities, according to staffers.

Amodini Paul, the assistant headmistress of Daul Barbakpur High School in Naogaon's Mohadevpur, was framed to look contentious by the section to prevent her from taking over from the school's outgoing headmaster, The Daily Star learnt after speaking with a host of staffers.

The section wanted one of their own to succeed Dharani Kanta Barman as the school's headteacher but Paul was chosen on the recommendation of Mohd. Salim Uddin Tarafder, a lawmaker from Naogaon-3 constituency.

Since taking over as the school's headmaster in 2011, Barman has indulged in corruption, according to the school's staffers The Daily Star spoke with.

He misappropriated the student fees and interest income on stipend funds and traded on recruitment.

In three village arbitrations held until last month, the headmaster and the previous governing committee president were found responsible for misappropriating Tk 35 lakh in donations against the recruitment of three teachers.

They were asked to provide Tk 5 lakh and Tk 2.5 lakh each, for the school's development.

The committee president paid his share of the fine, but the headmaster was yet to pay.

Contacted, Barman refuted the allegations against him.

"I have no way to avoid handing over duties to her," he said, adding that he had all accounts of financial affairs and no corruption occurred.

Asked about the village arbitrations, he said he was not aware of any.

On Wednesday, Paul and her co-worker Badiul Alam hurled abuses and beat up 18 female students for entering the school without a proper uniform, according to the written complaint filed the following day by their guardians to the UNO, education officer and police.

 Alam also hit three class-8 students on Paul's instructions, it said.

That evening, one Shamim Ahmed Joy in social media post said Paul beat up the students for wearing hijab. He deleted the post later, but by then, the post had become viral.

On Thursday, over a hundred people sieged the school, ransacked furniture and demanded Paul's removal.

Police tackled the situation that day and the school headmaster issued a show-cause notice against Paul amid escalating reactions from school staffers and villagers.

"Wearing hijab is no new thing in the school. I never scolded anyone for this and definitely not that day," Paul told The Daily Star.

A quarter in the school is trying to give a simple disciplinary issue a religious colour, Tarafder told The Daily Star.

"I talked to a cross-section of people before making my recommendation for her," he said, adding that ignoring his endorsement should be investigated.

A probe panel has been formed to investigate the incident headed by the Upazila Livestock Officer Abdul Malek. The panel has been ordered to submit their report by today, said Mohadevpur UNO Mizanur Rahman.


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