The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Deaf students in custody

Mumbai, Jan. 28: Police have sent the 14 students charged with murdering a teacher of a school for the deaf and dumb in Nagpur to various remand homes or retained them in custody.

Seven girls of the Karna Vadir Vidyalaya have been sent to a home in Amravati, while five have been kept in police custody. One of the two boys allegedly involved in murdering the teacher is in police custody at the Sonegaon police station, which is probing the case. The other boy has been sent to the district police headquarters.

The students are in their teens or slightly older. “We have kept the students who are above 18 years in police custody,” said a police officer. The police arrested them on Sunday for murdering Nalini Gaikwad, one of their teachers.

Gaikwad, in her twenties, began teaching at the school two years ago and was in charge of the girls’ hostel. She earned the wrath of the students for keeping the girls from meeting the boys after dinner, which was usually around 6.30 pm.

On Saturday evening after dinner, the girls smuggled in two boys to their hostel, which is on the first floor of the three-storey school building, according to the police. The boys hid under one of the beds. In the early hours, one of them choked the teacher to death with a piece of cable as the others kept her pinned down.

The killing was a violent reaction to the strict rules of the school, enforced especially for the girls who are forced to spend almost all their time indoors.

“We would close the door of the girls’ hostel at 7 pm and lock it so that no one could go outside during the night,” said Shailaja Dhote, principal Dilip Dhote’s wife, who is also involved in the management of the school.

“They would get up early in the morning, have their food by 10 o’clock and attend school at 11 am. By 5 pm, they were back to the hostel,” explained Shailaja.

The girls are allowed outside the premises only with official permission. They are not allowed to go far — only to go to shops nearby.

The school is more lenient with the boys. They are also required to be indoors after dinner, but it is not unusual for them to venture out, Dhote said.

The 14 boys and girls will be produced before the court on February 3.

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