Caning case: La Mart principal, teachers get bail

Last Updated: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 18:10

Kolkata: The principal and three teachers
of the La Martiniere school for boys, who were arrested this
morning in connection with the death of 13-year-old student
Rouvanjit Rawla, were granted bail by a court here but police
said the charge was not abetment to suicide.

Principal Sunirmal Chakraborty and the three teachers
- Garnian, Partho Dutta and David Raun - were produced before
City Metropolitan Magistrate Ravi Ranjan Chakraborty who
granted them bail against a personal bond of Rs 500.

A police officer said all four had been charged under
IPC sections 323, 324 and 352 and section 23 of the Juvenile
Justice Act, which are bailable, and clarified that the charge
was not abetment to suicide.

Seven months after 13-year-old student Rouvanjit Rawla ended his life after he was caned, the principal and three teachers of the La Martiniere School were
arrested today.

The Class VIII student had killed himself on February 12, four days after being being caned by the principal. He got the caning along with two other boys for playing truant, the principal had said.

Following his death, Rounjavit`s father had filed a complaint against the school principal and teachers for subjecting his son to corporal punishment.

Describing the arrest as a "breakthrough", Rounjavit`s father Ajay Rawla said they should be dealt with firmly and an example set so that other children are not ill-treated. Rawla said he was very "grateful to god and the authorities for not letting this being swept under the floor".

"All that we are praying for is that those who tormented our child and treated him so badly should be dealt with as per law and...an example must be set so that no other
child is treated this way," he said.

National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), an autonomous body under the Central government, had conducted an inquiry in June that found the school and the teachers guilty and had recommended suspension of the accused.

NCPR Member Ashok Agarwal said, "There was a clear linkage between the caning of the child and the suicide committed by the child. Therefore, this (the arrest) should
have happpened much earlier. It is better late than never".

The Principal had earlier this year apologised for caning the student, saying it was a mistake.

However, he said the caning should not be linked to the death of the student as it was "stretching it a bit too far".

Denying allegations that the boy was caned so hard that the stick broke on his back, Chakravarthy had said he had given Rouvanjit two "mild strokes".

Chakravarthy had said Rouvanjit had been hauled up for bursting stink bombs in the classroom. He was issued a note and had been asked to bring his father to school.

Asked about the arrests, Michael Shane Calvert, vice president of Alumni Association said, "It is a very sad day for Martiniere. We do appreciate that life is precious but
linking the caning to the suicide will have to be looked into carefully."

"We still need to be careful about the impact that this is having and will have on the way students react to the disciplining because already there have been adverse reactions
in the school and disciplining will be a problem. We need to took at ways of discipline children through constructive measures.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 18:10

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