Lucknow, Sept. 15: A Class XI student of Nainital’s Don Bosco Public School was beaten to death by his classmates during the lunch break yesterday when scores of boys were milling around.
Bhupendra Bist, who wanted to be an army officer like his father, had intervened in a fight between two groups of students in his class over the theft of a book, police said.
“The victim was well-meaning. He approached them and wanted to sort out the dispute. But he was accused of taking sides, according to some students,” said G.S. Martolia, the Nainital superintendent of police.
One group of students grabbed the boy and began hitting on his head with a blunt object. “He soon began to bleed heavily and was crying for help but nobody came forward. Instead, he was dragged into a toilet where he was again assaulted,” the officer said.
The school is located in Lalquan, a village 5km from Nainital, which erupted in anger today over the campus killing. Hundreds of residents laid siege to the school and demanded the arrest of teachers who did nothing to save the boy. Two companies of provincial armed constabulary were sent to rein in the protesters.
The 17-year-old was taken to hospital not by the school authorities but by guardians of two students from another class who happened to see him being beaten up, sources said. They called residents of the neighbourhood for help and rushed Bhupendra to a hospital in Nainital, where he was declared dead.
Dr Sushila Tiwari of Nainital District Hospital, who declared him dead, said: “The patient sustained severe head injuries caused by assault which led to profuse bleeding and he expired around 2.30pm on September 14.” He had been assaulted around 1pm.
“His father fought for the country but the son had to die stopping a petty quarrel,” Ramanlal Bist, a relative, said.
Pradumman Bist, who retired as lieutenant colonel, had served in Kashmir and the Northeast, the family said. He has also done research on army uniform and its social importance. The family lives in Nainital.
“Bhupendra was a bright student who wanted to join the army like his father,” uncle Narayan Singh Bist said. He was studying science.
Four classmates — Deepak Pandey, Himanshu Joshi, Deepak Phulara and Amar Deep Singh — have been arrested. Pandey and Rajendra Bist were leading the two warring groups, the police said.
“We are trying to get a cross-section of accounts from teachers and students on the incident. What puzzled us was the role of the teachers,” Martolia added.
“The police have received contradictory accounts on what led to the killing of the student. It may not be just an intervention during dispute over theft of a book.”
The school authorities could not be reached for comment. Repeated calls to the principal’s office went unanswered.