Principal sorry, de-links Rouvan`s suicide from caning

La Martiniere`s Principal says caning should not be linked to the death of the class VIII student.

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: The Principal of La Martiniere School for Boys Sunirmal Chakravarthi has regretted caning Class VIII student Rouvanjit Rawla, who committed suicide later, but said the incident was not linked to the boy’s suicide.

"It was a mistake. I have apologised to the school board
and for this I am ready to face the consequences," Principal
Sunirmal Chakravarthy said.

He, however, said the caning should not be linked to the
death of the class VIII student Rouvanjit Rawla on February
12. "I think it is stretching it a bit too far," he said. He added that the suicide took place five days after the caning, adding that he had apologised to the family of the deceased and had held a memorial service as well.

But, Ajay Rawla, father of the boy, said he had not
received any apology and did not know if the Principal had
apologised to the Board. "But I am glad that teachers are
willing to behave themselves," he said.

Rawla said, "If kids are going to benefit for not getting
beaten and humiliated and victimised, I think we have achieved
a lot."

At the same time, he said, "I have no reason to see, to
believe that this man (the principal) has any remorse. I have
never any apology from him."

As per a report published in a leading daily on Tuesday, the Principal of La Martiniere School has tendered an apology to the board of governors of the school for the corporal punishment meted out to Rouvanjit Rawla terming it as a mistake.

Drawing lessons from Rouvanjit’s case, Chakravarthi also assured that corporal punishment would never again be practised in the school.

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

"It is a horrendous and outrageous lie to say that the
cane broke into several pieces. It`s a figment of whose
imagination I don`t know," he said.

An internal inquiry committee was set up to probe the case. The committee found the principal guilty of administering corporal punishment to Rouvanjit but did not link it to his death.

The Board of Governors however warned the principal for using corporal punishment, as per the rules of the school. According to the rulebook, warning is the first action against such an offence, if the offence is repeated a second time, it would lead to suspension and if repeated a third time, it would lead to termination.

Apart from the action taken by the board, Bishop Ashok Biswas, the chairman of the prestigious school’s Board of Governors, also wrote letters to every teacher in the school advising against corporal punishment.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which is probing the case, wants Sunirmal Chakarvarthy and three teachers - LG Gunnion, Partha Dutta and Anand Bhaju - suspended pending inquiry into the Rouvanjit Rawla suicide case.

"We are likely to say that during the period of police investigation at least the principal and three teachers should be suspended otherwise it won`t be a fair and impartial investigation. It will be difficult for the police to record statements of the students in the presence of the principal," said NCPCR member Ashok Agarwal.

"We will in the report say that corporal punishment was rampant in the school. The possibility of linking this humiliation to the suicide cannot be ruled out. Had this humiliation not taken place this death could have been avoided," he added.

The principal has also objected to the NCPCR leaking the text of their report on the incident o the media.

“Our boy’s death is not a matter of debate. I miss Rouvanjit and he was as much our son as any other boy in school,” Chakravarthy told a TV channel.

Rouvanjit`s family has filed a complaint against four teachers and Chakravarti, accusing them of misbehaving with their son and torturing him.

They have been charged under Section 305 (abetment to suicide of child) of the IPC, which is non-bailable.

-Agencies inputs

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