RAIPUR: The mysterious death of a schoolboy in Bhilai has dug up a five-month-old controversy involving obscene messages in a WhatsApp group, and triggered mob violence on campus on Wednesday.
Protesters ransacked Mahaveer Jain School in Bhilai, alleging that teachers had confined three students in a classroom in February and beaten them mercilessly over the obscene messages. One of the students died at home on Tuesday after being hospitalized for nearly a month.
TOI repeatedly tried to contact the dead boy’s parents but they are in shock and unable to speak. NSUI worker Sonu Sahoo, who was in a group that met them on Wednesday evening, told TOI that the parents plan to file an FIR against the school.
No one can confirm if there is a connection between the alleged beating in February and the death, but a section of parents and NSUI workers believe the boy died because of complications from the thrashing.
On a complaint made by the Bhilai-Durg Parents Association, the District Education Officer said that he has ordered an inquiry and formed a three-member committee to investigate the matter.
The controversy dates back to a series of incidents between February 21 and 24 when three school students added a female teacher to their WhatsApp group and allegedly posted some obscene messages and pictures. The teacher complained to the school authorities, who handed TCs to the trio and told them to leave. It wasn’t clear if the obscene messages had any connection with the teacher.
Nasir Pokhar, a member of the parents’ association, told TOI: “The students were beaten black and blue in a closed classroom that led to a student suffering blood clots in his head. The school forced the parents not to go to police, saying that the students had committed a crime and the school would approach police if the parents dared raise their voice.”
Sources say the three boys’ parents submitted apology letters after which the students were allowed to appear in the examination before being given TCs. No one reported to police on either side.
One of the students went into depression as he failed his exams and started falling ill. A section of parents alleges that he was beaten again by a friend of the teacher after which he went into trauma. He was hospitalized for 21 days at Chandulal Chandrakar Hospital in Durg and then for nine days in Raipur. He was discharged and sent home, where he died a week later, on July 11. The cause of his death isn’t known.
NSUI workers staged a protest in the school on Wednesday and wrecked tables and chairs, demanding action against the teachers who allegedly beat the boy.
Denying that the students were beaten, school principal Sonali Patra was quoted as saying that the students were given TCs because the parents requested them not to report the matter to police. She said she had recently
reported the matter to the district education officer.
The parents’ association demands that National Commission for Protection of Child Rights take action against the school for the boy’s death.