Victim of teacher's brutality catches NHRC attention

Over three weeks after a class 3 boy’s leg was broken by a government schoolteacher in north Delhi, police are yet to complete their inquiry into the incident of alleged corporal punishment that has now caught the attention of the apex rights panel.

The National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to Chief Secretary K K Sharma in the matter of alleged corporal punishment by a guest teacher at the Sarvodya Vidyalaya (BT Block) in Shalimar Bagh.

The commission issued the notice after taking suo motu cognisance of a report in Deccan Herald that a guest teacher at Sarvodaya Vidyalaya pushed eight-year-old Deepak on the ground as he had refused to “massage” his legs.

“We have not even been contacted by police for a statement,” complained Anil Kumar, Deepak’s father, who admitted their hopes of getting justice on the August 3 incident were fading by the day.

On Tuesday, the investigating officer looking into Kumar’s complaint, carrying the name of the guilty teacher, confirmed that the inquiry was still going on. “These matters take time,” said the sub-inspector from Shalimar Bagh police station.

The NHRC gave four weeks to the Delhi government to reply and said: “Allegedly, the teacher beats all the boys a lot. He harasses them, hits them with bottles, places pens between their fingers and presses them.”

“The report, if true, raises serious questions of violation of human rights of the young, school-going children,” the NHRC said. The teacher’s alleged ill-treatment on Deepak and his suspected protection by school principal has also angered parents of other children but they refused to talk against the school management out of fear of persecution.

The Supreme Court banned corporal punishment for children on December 1, 2000 when it directed the state to ensure “that children are not subjected to corporal punishment in schools and they receive education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear”.

Area resident Dinesh Yadav, whose children do not study in the school, alleged the guilty teacher is related to the principal. “There have been similar incidents in the school earlier also. We have given a number of complaints to the deputy director of Education Department but nothing has happened,” said Yadav, who helped Deepak’s family file a complain with police.

Yadav said he also took Deepak’s father to Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) for lodging a formal complaint. Anil Kumar confirmed registering a complaint with the child-rights panel. “They have taken our statement but we are not aware of any proceeding against the teacher or school official.”
Deepak told his parents that he was punished for refusing to massage the teacher’s legs.

“I refused to give him a massage so he picked me up and threw me on the ground. I wasn’t able to move my leg due to the injury but he forced me to walk,” said Deepak.
The class 3 student also alleged that the guilty teacher was in a habit of torturing students. “He hits us with bottles, places pens between our fingers and presses our hands and even throws us,” said Deepak, whose right leg is still plastered due to the injury.

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