Fanindra Deb Institution in Jalpaiguri. (Biplab Basak)
May 28: A Jalpaiguri boy was found hanging in his room yesterday after he was allegedly thrashed several times and humiliated in school by his teacher for breaking a bench.
Relatives and neighbours of Joydip Mukherjee, the 15-year-old who studied in Fanindra Deb Institution, ransacked the house of the headmaster last night. He and the accused teacher, Anubrata Roy, are in hiding.
The boy’s family said the sequence of events that led to Joydip’s death began on May 18.
That day, Joydip and some of his friends broke a bench in their classroom. They were jumping on a bench which was already in a bad condition.
Some of Joydip’s classmates, who did not want to be named, said the bench broke and Joydip picked up a piece of the furniture and showed it to Anubrata.
According to Dulal Mukherjee, Joydip’s father, the boy came home and told him that Anubrata, the class teacher slapped him.
The teacher also said Joydip was responsible for the damage.
“The class teacher abused the boy verbally also,” said a school source.
On May 20, shop owner Dulal was called to Fanindra Deb Institution, one of the better-known schools in Jalpaiguri.
“Headmaster Sujan Some Roy and some other teachers, including Anubrata, were present there. I was told that my son had broken a bench and I would have to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation,” Dulal said in tears.
“I asked the headmaster if any other student was involved, but he didn’t answer. I said I would pay some money,” the father said.
| Joydip Mukherjee
Mukherjee and his wife Tapati, a housewife, have alleged even after the headmaster had met him, Anubrata continued harassing Joydip.
“My son was hit with a duster and his head was banged against a wall. The class teacher abused Joydip verbally also. Our son was humiliated in public by the teacher several times last week. Anubrata threatened that Joydip wouldn’t be allowed to sit for a unit test scheduled today if I didn’t pay the amount,” Dulal said.
“He became depressed.”
Yesterday, Joydip did not go to school as he was feeling depressed. In the evening, when his parents realised the boy was no where to be seen, they checked his room and found him hanging from the ceiling by his jeans.
As the news of the boy’s death spread, relatives and neighbours turned furious and attacked Some Roy’s house at Panpara last night, throwing stones and smashing windows. A police picket was put up in front of the headmaster’s house.
Today, the Mukherjees filed a complaint with Kotwali police station against Anubrata and Some Roy, accusing them of abetting Joydip’s suicide. Joydip was the sole child of his parents.
Students echoed the charges levelled by Dulal.
“Anubrata Sir has the habit of torturing us physically. Every other day, he would come up with new methods to torture us and the headmaster and the school authorities kept mum. It’s true that he had repeatedly humiliated and assaulted Joydip after May 18,” said a student.
S.S. Choudhury, the secretary of the school’s managing committee, said: “We will not comment on the suicide of the student and the allegations levelled by his parents. It’s up to the police and administration to look into the case.”
Since 10am today, the road at Head Post Office More of the town, where the school is located, was blocked by Joydip’s relatives and local people. They also held a demonstration on the school premises with the boy’s body.
As over 1,000 people gathered near the school, Amit P. Javalgi, the superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri, reached the spot and assured them of a proper investigation. The crowd dispersed around 12.30pm after the SP’s promise.
Police sources said a case for abetment to suicide was likely to be filed under Section 305 of the IPC.
Two representatives of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, who were in town for some work, visited the school. “We have decided to conduct an investigation. We spoke to teachers and students, including those studying in the deceased boy’s class,” Binod Tikoo, one of them, said.