ITANAGAR, Mar 14: A Class 6 student of the Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya (VKV) in Sher, in Papum Pare district, was found hanging near the bathroom of the school’s hostel on Friday evening. He later died on way to the hospital.
The incident reportedly occurred after the school’s games and sports period was over, between 3 and 4 pm.
As per reports, a group of students, including the deceased, had got into a fight during the games and sports period, following which the boy allegedly went missing. About 15 to 30 minutes later, two students came running to the teachers and the principal and informed them that they had found the student hanging by the neck near the hostel’s bathroom.
The school’s principal took the student to the hospital; however, the student died on the way.
The principal informed the Kimin ADC about the incident, and
a case was registered at the Kimin police station.
Postmortem on the body was conducted, and the report is awaited.
The police have meanwhile booked the principal and two wardens, and registered a case under Sections 306 and 323, r/w Section 34 of the IPC.
Two juveniles who were involved in the fight with the deceased have also been charged under the Juvenile Justice Act 75, and investigation is on.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Papum Pare unit of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Licha Tatam, informed this daily over the phone that the committee has met Kimin SDPO Dekio Gumja and sought free and fair investigation into the case.
He informed that a joint team of the Papum Pare and the Itanagar units of the CWC visited the school on Saturday and took the statements of the teachers, students, and witnesses.
“This is not the first incident when students in the said school faced violence at the hands of other students. In the previous year too, there were the reports of incidents of sodomy, wherein several students of Classes 9 and 10 were allegedly caught sodomizing junior students.
“This is a serious case and we have urged the school’s management committee to install CCTV cameras in the school and organize counselling for the students,” Tatam said, and requested the district administration also to conduct regular counselling for the schoolchildren to prevent such incidents from recurring.
“A lot of times, schoolchildren form groups and resort to violence and disturbance in schools, which can be reduced if proper counselling is held regularly at schools,” he said.
Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS) secretary-general, Kani Nada Maling, who along with her team also visited the Sher VKV, expressed sadness over the death of the child and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
“The APWWS team has met the Kimin ADC and the Kimin PS in-charge. We have urged the authorities to conduct a free and fair investigation into the case. This is not the first time that the school has witnessed similar violence against students. Last year, when the sodomy case was reported in the school, we had asked the then principal to change their teaching modalities. We found during our interaction with the students there that most of them are scared and would silently suffer and not report any wrongdoing,” she said.
Maling said “deep introspection is needed in the state’s education system. The policymakers should take urgent steps and make it mandatory for school authorities to install CCTV cameras in the schools’ premises besides appointing a child psychologist at every school.”
Maling also informed that the VKV is in a pathetic condition and in dire need of renovation.
“The school lacks proper toilet facility and does not have proper classrooms and hostel facilities,” she said.
The Sher VKV was in the news in September 2019 also, when the school authorities rusticated nearly 60 students of Classes 9 and 10 for vandalizing the school and hostel buildings.
There were complaints against several students of Classes 9 and 10 who were allegedly caught sodomizing some junior students. When the junior boys complained, several of them were reportedly beaten up.
The school authority had informed that the situation snowballed when a Class 9 student was rusticated for seven days after the school authority had found him guilty of “torturing” junior students.
The rustication of the student had provoked the rest of the students, who tried to defend him and turned unruly.
Later, following a meeting, the VKV Arunachal Pradesh Trust, the VKV Alumni Association and the school’s management committee had jointly decided to close down Classes 9 and 10 for the 2019-20 session.
The then principal of the school, Padmanabhan VP, had said that the school had received complaints of bullying from parents but none of the boys had come out to complain against the seniors.
He had termed the reports of sodomy “baseless allegations against the school.”