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Since 1st March, 1999
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Slap meant to discipline eight-year-old schoolgirl in class kills
Iftesham Chowdhury

An eight-year-old schoolgirl went into coma and didn’t regain consciousness after her yoga teacher allegedly slapped her so hard that she lost her balance and rammed her head against a wall.

Iftesham Chowdhury, a student of Class II at Vidya Bharti School in Mominpur, died at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) on Friday night despite doctors removing a clot from her brain.

Iftesham, a niece of breakaway CPM leader Saifuddin Chowdhury, had complained of headache during the second class after lunch break on Thursday and lost consciousness soon after. When principal Anjana Mullick enquired whether she had been ill since coming to school, her classmates said their yoga teacher Anita Das slapped her during the previous class.

She was immediately taken to CMRI and operated on. But the schoolgirl remained on ventilator and died at 9.40pm on Friday.

“A CT scan had revealed a large clot on the right side of the parietal lobe. The clot was removed but the patient couldn’t be revived,” neurosurgeon Soumitra Roy said.

Iftesham’s father Mansur Rehman Chowdhury, a contractor, filed a complaint against Das with Ekbalpore police station on Friday morning after speaking to his daughter’s friends. The police registered a case but hadn’t arrested the teacher till late in the night.

“We first need to speak to the students, teachers and parents. Only after that can we consider charging the yoga teacher with culpable homicide (not amounting to murder),” the deputy commissioner of police (port), Anand Kumar, said.

The school principal admitted Iftesham was slapped but said she had denied hitting her student hard. “She told me that Iftesham was restive in class and not listening to her. So she slapped her in the face but not very hard. It was, in fact, Das and school co-ordinator Chandana Ghosh who took her to hospital.”

The yoga teacher was unavailable for comment.

Mansur said someone from the school called him on his cellphone at 3.30pm on Thursday to say that Iftesham had taken ill. “My girl was hale and hearty when she went to school.”

Elder brother Saifuddin said it was a shame that a schoolgirl had lost her life because of an incident involving a teacher.

“There are child protection laws in the country and an incident such as this calls for exemplary punishment,” he added.

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