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Report doubts urine charge

Santiniketan, July 14: The Patha Bhavan girl who was ordered to lick her own urine did not eventually have to do so, a Visva-Bharati probe committee has found out, according to university sources.

Its report purportedly says that some of the Class V girl’s hostel mates have told the panel that the warden let the girl off when she began crying. The claim is apparently at variance with the Class V student’s statement to the committee.

The four-member panel, set up by vice-chancellor Sushanta Duttagupta, handed in its report today.

According to the report, the girl’s six roommates and six other students who were apparently present during the incident have either said the warden stopped her moments before she was about to lick the urine, or claimed they could not clearly see what happened, sources said.

The girl, who too deposed before the committee, said she was forced to lick her own urine by warden Uma Poddar, the sources added.

A senior varsity official said: “All six girls who shared the hostel room with the girl deposed before the committee, which spoke to six other girls too. All of them either said they did not clearly see what happened or that the girl was stopped from licking the urine after she burst into tears.”

The committee was headed by former dean Aruna Mukherjee and included Harekrishna Misra, deputy dean of students’ welfare; Patha Bhavan teacher Surajit Sen; and Ipsa Banerjee, a teacher at Siksha Satra, a higher secondary school run by Visva-Bharati.

The university had earlier claimed the girl had been “directed” and not “forced” to lick urine.

Some university officials, however, said that even directing a girl to lick urine was wrong. “Action should be taken against the warden even if she had merely directed the girl to do so,” an official said.

Another senior official said: “Now the vice-chancellor will take appropriate action.”

The Visva-Bharati authorities have so far sent two reports to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union HRD ministry. The PMO had rejected the first report as “biased” because it did not contain the views of the girl’s parents. In the second report, the parents’ statements were incorporated.

Parents collect goods

The girl’s parents today collected her belongings from Karabi hostel. They have so far not changed their decision against sending their daughter back to Patha Bhavan.