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Boy critical, ragging slur on Scindia School

Patna/Gwalior, Aug. 22: A Bihar minister’s son who studies at Gwalior’s prestigious Scindia School was on a ventilator in a Delhi hospital tonight, his family alleging harassment and a suspected throttling attempt by school seniors.

Cooperative minister Jai Kumar Singh was quoted saying the school authorities had informed him that his son, a Class IX student, had attempted suicide on Wednesday night and was in a serious condition.

“I strongly dispute this. Even doctors attending to him at (Delhi’s) Apollo Hospitals said it does not seem to be a case of (attempted) suicide but that of a suspected case of throttling to death,” PTI quoted the minister.

Narendra Kumar Sharma, the boy’s local guardian, told The Telegraph over the phone from Gwalior that he had heard his ward was found hanging in his hostel room on Wednesday night and rushed unconscious to hospital.

The school authorities said the boy was found unconscious in his room but refused to elaborate.

Local doctor C.P. Bansal, who attended to the boy after receiving a call from the school, said the patient was unconscious and needed specialised treatment.

Doctors at Gwalior’s Global Speciality Hospital thought it too critical a case to be handled there, so the boy was driven 374km in an ambulance to be admitted to Delhi’s Apollo Hospitals on Thursday. A doctor accompanied him.

At Apollo, doctors said the boy was suffering from cerebral hypoxia, a condition resulting from inadequate oxygen supply to the brain, which can happen because of many reasons, including attempted hanging or throttling.

Scindia School authorities remained tight-lipped. “I shall speak to you later,” was the terse reply of the school’s executive secretary, Pawan Verma.

School vice-principal Shalini Mehrotra said: “We shall know what exactly happened once he regains consciousness.”

Rajeev Singh, the maternal uncle of the minister’s son, said the family suspected “ragging”. Gwalior city superintendent of police V.S. Raghuvanshi said the police had never before received any complaint of ragging at Scindia School.

Sources in Patna said the boy had been studying in the Gwalior school these past two years.

Sharma, the local guardian, said: “One of the cousins of the injured boy studies in the same school. He told me the minister’s son was being physically harassed by his seniors for a fortnight. He, however, did not know what led to such serious injuries to the boy.”

He added: “When I visited the institution, the school authorities refused to share any information.”

A PTI report quoted the minister as saying his son had complained to his mother in the past about harassment by seniors.

“But we never thought the matter was so serious. We shall definitely take the matter up with the school.”

Scindia School, compared by its management to Eton and Windsor, is located in the 110-acre Gwalior Fort, which towers 300ft above the city of Gwalior. The head of the school’s board of governors is Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia. His mother Madhaviraje too is a trustee.

Jyotiraditya visited the Delhi hospital and consoled the Bihar minister. He promised a thorough investigation by a high-level school committee.

Gwalior collector P. Narhari, senior superintendent of police Santosh Kumar Singh and city superintendent Raghuvanshi said all aspects of the case were being investigated.