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Student caned over sweater fiat

An 11-year-old Jamshedpur student has alleged he was beaten up by the secretary of his school for taking off his sweater during class hours, in a shocking and shameless violation of all the country’s laws against corporal punishment.

In a complaint lodged with Govindpur police, sixth grader Kumar Sahil, studying in St Xavier’s School in Chotagovindpur, said school secretary Sunil Singh beat him up with a bamboo stick on Tuesday.

“December 16 is our annual sports day. We were practising for the event till 2pm. After returning to the classroom, I was all sweaty and took off my sweater. The secretary first scolded me for not wearing the sweater and when I said I was feeling hot, he started beating me up. He hit me four times,” the child, who had bruises on his left arm, said.

The country has many a law against corporal punishment. The Supreme Court had banned the use of the rod in academic institutions way back in 2000. With no respite for schoolchildren in many states, the Union ministry of women and child development had further prodded implementation of the ban in 2010. Clause 17 in Chapter IV of the RTE Act also states that no child shall be subjected to physical or mental harassment in schools.

But, violations remain the ugly truth.

Sahil’s parents said they had never thought their son could face such abuse in a reputable school. “Our elder son Ashish also studies in the same school in Class IX. We had so much faith in the academic ambience here. It was only when Sahil returned home yesterday that we started having doubts,” said father Dinesh Singh, who works at a chemist’s shop in Govindpur.

Besides lodging a police complaint, the angry parents also met East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande on Wednesday afternoon, seeking redress.

Govindpur police station officer-in-charge Dayanand Sah confirmed that they had received a complaint against the St Xavier’s secretary.

“The complaint was filed yesterday night and this morning, we have converted it into an FIR against the school secretary. Action will be taken soon,” he said.

When contacted, the accused Xavier’s official expressed ignorance.

“It is news to me. I was told by the local police that an FIR had been lodged against me. I am trying to speak to the parents of the student to know exactly why. I had not even scolded the child and do not know anything about he being beaten up,” Singh, who happens to be a senior functionary of the BJP’s youth wing, said.

Principal Nibha Singh, who is also the wife of the school secretary, did not answer her phone. Singh claimed she was visiting relatives in Deogarh.

St Xavier’s runs Classes I to VIII on CBSE pattern and provides tutorials for Classes IX and X. The senior students are free to appear for examinations by registering themselves from any other school.

Should teachers be jailed for child rights violation?
Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com