The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Home reports 10 missing

Raiganj, July 23: Nine boys and a girl have “disappeared” from a state-run home for orphans and destitute children in the North Dinajpur district headquarters over the past month amid allegations of torture.

The Raiganj Child Welfare Society today lodged a complaint with the Raiganj police station, saying the 10 students, aged between 11 and 15 years, were “missing” from its Sishu Sadan.

In another complaint filed with the same police station on Monday, Radhakanta Barman, father of a missing boy, accused Nimai Singha Roy, assistant superintendent of the home, of torturing his son, forcing him to “flee”. He said his son Manoranjan has been “untraceable” since July 15.

A total of 85 students from impoverished families study for free at the residential home set up in Raiganj some 40 years ago. The state mass education department runs the Sadan, affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. The missing 10 students were all from neighbouring South Dinjapur.

Sadan superintendent Jayanta Chatterjee said it was common for students to “go home without permission”.

He said the home authorities had not suspected anything when 21 students were initially found missing. “We had thought they had gone and would come back soon.”

When 10 did not return, Chatterjee said they wrote to their parents. “We became worried when we learnt they were not with their parents. We immediately decided to lodge a missing diary with the police.”

Barman, in his complaint, said Manoranjan, a Class VI student, had been “doing well” at the home. “But all of a sudden, he came home one day saying he could not take regular beatings from the assistant superintendent.”

The father said he persuaded his son to go back to the school on July 15. Three days later, he said when he visited the home to see his son, he learnt that Manoranjan had “disappeared”.

The assistant superintendent denied the allegations.

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