|The cane marks on Sohail's back. (Main Uddin Chisti)
Cooch Behar, May 7: Seven primary school children were caned by a teacher this morning for collecting the keys to their classrooms from the head teacher after they found the school locked.
The incident has prompted the block development officer of Cooch Behar II to order an inquiry. Six boys and a girl, all students of Class III of Ramesh Smriti Sishu Siksha Kendra at Paschim Khagrabari near here, were beaten black and blue by Manju Dhar, one of the three teachers of the school that has classes from nursery to five.
Sohail Hussain, who had cane marks on his hands, back and feet, said: “We reached the school around 10.30am and found it locked. We waited for our teachers for over half an hour. But no one came. So, we went to the head teacher’s house to get the school keys. When we returned, we saw teacher Manju Dhar waiting in front of the school. She started shouting at us for getting the keys and picked up a cane and began thrashing us.”
The boy added that head teacher Uma Ghosh’s house was near the school and students often used to get classroom keys from there. Sohail said Manju Dhar caned them inside the classroom and then dragged them out. “We were shouting in pain, but she would not stop. We returned home crying,” he said.
No classes were held today.
Soon after the children returned home, their parents and relatives went to the school to talk to the teacher. But Dhar had left by then. “How can a teacher beat up children in such a ruthless manner? My son has red marks all over his back. Children often collect the school keys from the head teacher like they did today,” said Sohail’s mother Salima Bibi.
The students were taken to the district hospital here and released after treatment.
“Manju didimoni is very ill-tempered and she does not hesitate to slap or cane us for even trivial matters. My legs are paining because of the thrashing she gave me today. I am scared to go to school now,” said Rahima Khatun.
The CPM pradhan of Khagrabari panchayat, Naresh Chandra Sinha, said the parents were feeling insecure to send their children to the school. “The teacher should not have beaten up the children. I am trying to talk to the head teacher about the incident.”
The block development officer of Cooch Behar II, Monalisa Maity, said: “I have asked the education officer and the joint BDO to conduct an inquiry.”
Although the head teacher could not be contacted, Dhar said the children were making things up. “We have to be strict to discipline the children. I used a small stick and I hit them slightly. That is all.”