The principal and four teachers of La Martiniere, a reputable English-medium school in south Kolkata face arrest after the father of a Class VIII student, who committed suicide in February, lodged an FIR against them for alleged mental and physical torture.
Ajay Rawla, the complainant and father of Rouvanjit, lodged the complaint at Shakespeare Sarani police station on Monday, almost four months after his son hanged himself to death on February 12.
However, its glory was recently sullied by a teacher who was arrested by police in May after demanding a laptop computer from a student.
Founded in 1836, La Martiniere is one of the oldest and most elite schools of Kolkata with a reputation for both academics and all-round development of students.
“In his complaint, the father of the student has alleged that the principal and four teachers of the school had been torturing his son both mentally and physically for a long time and that ultimately led the boy to commit suicide,” an officer of Shakespeare Sarani police station said. “Acting on the complaint, we have started a case of abetment to suicide against the five.”
Explaining the delay, Rawla told the police that he had been too traumatised earlier. “I think it is constant victimisation, abuse, ridicule and humiliation combined with beating (that led to my son’s death),” said Rawla.
He had earlier lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPRCR). “The parents have lodged a complaint with us and this is a very serious thing happening in the school. We are inquiring into it,” NCPRCR advocate Ashok Agarwal said.
The principal of the school had reportedly called for Rouvanjit’s parents over “a case of indiscipline”. The next day Rouvanjit was found hanging from the ceiling of his Alipore home. Some friends of the boy also alleged that he had been caned in school days before his death.
Rouvanjit’s parents had initially suspected the death to be an accident. But, after getting over the initial shock, when they started browsing through their son’s personal details when they chanced upon Facebook posts by the boy’s friends, who had blamed corporal punishment for the suicide.
Corporal punishment was banned by Calcutta High Court in 2004. School Education Minister Partha De, too, has been vocal in his opposition to students being beaten up. Spare the rod and teach the child, has been his advice to teachers.