St Xavier’s School principal Alban Minz (right) in Raiganj on Monday. Picture by Nantu Dey
Raiganj, Sept. 16: The principal of St Xavier’s School, where a boy was allegedly harassed by a senior, today denied the charge of ragging on campus.
Principal Alban Minz instead said that a section of guardians whose children were in junior classes had threatened senior students.
The educational institution, which is affiliated to the ICSE board and has around 2,000 students from preparatory classes to XII, came under media glare after guardians demonstrated in front of the school on last Friday over reports of alleged ragging of juniors by senior students.
Minz said today: “A section of guardians is making baseless allegations against us. So far, we have not found any evidence of such torture as alleged by them. On the basis of complaints made by junior students to their parents, we have taken those juniors to senior classes and have asked them to identify the boys or girls who had tortured them. They could not identify a single senior student. We have mentioned it to government officials who have visited the school and also to teachers, students and guardians. All of them are satisfied.”
He added: “A section of guardians is not ready to believe us and are issuing threats to senior students while they are coming to school or are on their way home. We are deeply concerned about their security.”
Minz also called two senior students from higher secondary classes before the media to substantiate his allegation.
“None of us is involved in any such ragging or torture but due to the propaganda by some guardians, all of us are being considered guilty. Over the past few days, I and some of my friends have been intimidated by some guardians outside the school. They have threatened to kill us if any incident of alleged torture or ragging is reported,” said one of students, who is in Class XII.
District officials said they were surprised by the school’s denial and the new allegation of threat tossed at the guardians.
“During my visit to the school on Saturday, we could perceive that some undesirable incidents like torture on junior students have occurred in the school. The principal and other representatives were speaking in feeble tones with us and never made any loud claim like they did today,” Nitish Dhali, the SDO-in charge of Raiganj, said.
“We want to make it clear that a set of directives has been issued to the school. If the institution fails to follow the directives and any further complaint of torture comes to us, we will take all possible administrative steps.”
Yesterday, the North Dinajpur district administration asked St Xavier’s to form an anti-ragging committee within 24 hours, instal CCTV cameras on the campus and hold meeting with guardians once a month to prevent harassment of junior students by seniors.
According to school sources, the anti-ragging committee has not been formed.
Minz’s denial has also made guardians angry. “We are not surprised on the denial because earlier the principal had tried to hush up unpleasant issues in a similar manner. We have medical reports of the junior students who had been tortured,” said Nirmal Kundu, secretary of the Guardians’ Forum of St Xavier’s School.
“There is no question of intimidating seniors as guardians of senior students are also with us. Now that the school has denied the torture and hinted that no steps would be taken against the accused seniors, we will sit together and plan our further course of movement.”
Chanchal Sarkar, a resident of the town whose daughter was beaten by a senior, said: “It was the principal who called me in the school after my daughter got injured in the assault. How can he deny the incident now?”