HYDERABAD: The principal of Hyderabad’s largest public school resigned on Wednesday after facing sexual harassment allegations brought by two schoolteachers, one of whom will also be filing a cyber-harassment FIR against him.
Naseem Ahmed Memon was head of Public School Hyderabad, which has more than 2,300 students and is spread across 120 acres.
Shagufta Shah, a BPS-17 teacher working for 16 years, and Kausar Sultana, also a BPS-17 teacher, began complaining against Memon in March this year. They approached the provincial ombudsman, women protection cell of Hyderabad police and the commissioner of Hyderabad division, who heads the school’s board of governors.
However, both teachers lament that the higher officials and police did not take action at the time which could have at least compelled the principal to desist from harassment.
“Due to the silence of all concerned authorities in the matter of harassment caused to female teachers and girl students, Naseem Ahmed Memon finally showed his real face,” Shah wrote in her latest complaint letter to Commissioner Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo dated July 28.
In the letter, Sultana describes an emergency meeting that the principal convened with teachers on March 3. “We all felt that he was drunk because he said such things which only a man out of his mind will say and that too before the female teachers,” she wrote.
She added that she went straight to Vice-principal Fozia Siddiqi to register her protest against Memon’s conduct. “And the next day their vindictive actions started targeting me,” she wrote.
Perturbed by his continuous actions, Shah submitted her latest complaint last week after the principal allegedly sent abusive and threatening messages to her over Facebook Messenger late night on July 26.
“I will make you my b***h … go to hell f**k you…” read the messages which Shah showed to The Express Tribune.
This time, the commissioner immediately took notice of the complaint letter and called Memon, Shah and Sultana to his office on Tuesday. An official source at the commissioner’s office claimed that Memon lost his composure when the commissioner called both sides to sit together for a joint hearing after he had heard from them separately.
“The principal used abusive words while referring to Sultana upon which the commissioner wondered about how Memon would be treating the teachers in his own office,” the insider said.
Memon has, however, accused both teachers of fabricating a case against him. “These women are in the habit of doing this with all previous principals,” he said. “They have the support of many bigwigs who don’t want to see the school flourish.”
While confirming to The Express Tribune that he has submitted his resignation to the commissioner, Memom said he will “expose the people behind these teachers” after a few days.
“I have produced outstanding results in matric examinations,” he said. “But no one bothers to talk about that.”
According to him, 53 students secured A-1 grade and 128 got the A grade in the Matric results announced last week.
Shah told The Express Tribune that Memon began making advances as soon as he was appointed in Apr, 2016. “He made me vice principal of the junior section but soon I was removed when he noted that I wasn’t responding,” she said.
Shah said she has been on forced leave from the school since February 2017 and was later suspended.
Shah and Sultana claim that other teachers and students have also been subjected to sexual harassment but they are too afraid to speak up.
Memon is reportedly a family member of the personal assistant of a powerful female politician in Sindh who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
Shah’s lawyer Sajjad Ahmed Chandio said that an application has been filed to the Federal Investigation Agency to register an FIR against Memon under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016.
“Only removal from his post is it not enough,” he said. “For sexual harassment and cyber crime, he has to face trial.”