Police remand for accused in teacher suicide case

May 8th, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Ahmedabad, May 8 (IANS) A man whose alleged sexual harassment of a woman led her to commit suicide was sent to police custody for five days by a court here Thursday. Bhagwatiben Patel, a teacher of class 4 in Nav Chetan school here, was harassed and then sacked by school trustee Dinesh Patel, the police said. The victim killed herself Monday after writing a letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The police said Dinesh sacked Bhagwatiben last Saturday because she resisted his sexual overtures. The police arrested Dinesh Wednesday.

“All I want is justice for my mother. She took the extreme step only to prove that she was right. Had Modi wanted, he could have saved my mother’s life,” Vibha, Bhagwatiben’s daughter, told IANS Wednesday.

The 40-year-old teacher had faxed a letter Saturday to Modi complaining of harassment by Dinesh.

“A trustee of my school has been harassing me and many other women staffers. He often makes indecent proposals and sexual demands. Since I turned down his demands he has sacked me,” Bhagwatiben said in her letter to Modi which was not posted but was similar to the one that was faxed, said Vibha.

“The trustee has become vindictive and has pushed me to the edge. He is forcing me to commit suicide. I do not want to kill myself as I have two children. Yet this man is driving me to suicide… I am a righteous woman and my self-respect has been hurt and I am writing this letter before I end my life,” Bhagwatiben wrote to Modi. She also marked a copy of her letter to Home Minister Amit Shah and Education Minister Ramanlal Vora.

The letters were not posted and were retrieved by her family from under a sewing machine Monday afternoon.

Bhagwatiben and Dinesh lived in the same housing society, Someshwar Tenements. The police said this proximity allowed Dinesh to harass the victim, expecially at a time when her family was in dire financial straits.

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