Eleven-year-old Shano Khan, who was beaten and made to stand out in the sun for not knowing the English alphabet, died in New Delhi on Friday, sending shock waves across the nation. The teacher has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, officials said.
Shano slipped into a coma on Wednesday after her class teacher Manju in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) primary school in Narela in north Delhi beat her and made her stand in the heat for more than an hour for failing to recite the alphabet.
The girl was shifted to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital Thursday evening after her condition deteriorated. She died Friday afternoon.
"A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was registered against the teacher following the death of the girl. The teacher will be arrested soon," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (outer) Atul Katiyar.
"The teacher is not in our reach right now. But I cannot say that she is absconding," Katiyar told IANS.
As the news spread, agitated people surrounded the school and raised slogans against the school authorities. The school was closed and policemen were stationed outside its gates.
Shano's father, Mohammed Ayub Khan, who is a labourer, said: "The MCD has suspended the teacher who punished Shano but this will not bring our daughter back. We want justice for our daughter."
Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra said the guilty would be brought to book.
"Both the teacher and the principal were suspended yesterday. By evening the teacher's services would be terminated. I have also ordered an enquiry into the incident. Whoever has done this will pay for it," she said.
Mehra has announced compensation of Rs.50,000 for Shano's parents.
"It is very very sad and shocking... I have spoken to the MCD commissioner... They said that they have suspended the teacher and have ordered an immediate enquiry... I have said that most stringent action should be taken against the teacher?. It should act as a deterrent for future," said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Shano was a resident of Bawana resettlement JJ colony in Narela area of northwest Delhi. She was among seven children - five girls and two boys.
"It's such a terrible tragedy that a innocent girl died after being punished by her teacher. It's high time that we take cognisance of such incidents," said Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury.
"It is shocking how a young girl was punished so brutally that she lost her life. We are going to ask the school and other authorities concerned for an explanation and also to submit a report on the same," Amod Kanth, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), told IANS.
Sandhya Bajaj, member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), condemned the incident and said they would take strict action against the authorities after reviewing the medical report and the report of the enquiry set up by the MCD.
"At the moment, we are awaiting the medical report of the girl and the enquiry report of the MCD. After that we will take action. This incident is absolutely condemnable," said Bajaj.
Calling the incident "shameful", National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas said: "We have taken cognizance of the matter and have send our team to probe into the matter, after which a report will be submitted."
Shano's death is not an isolated incident. In March 2008, a 15-year-old girl was hit by a male teacher for refusing to take private tuition from him. The girl died after remaining in coma for nearly two-and-a-half months.
Bajaj said such incidents reflected the blatant manner in which laws were being flouted everywhere.
"Corporal punishment in schools has been banned but it continues to persist everywhere. Therefore, there has to be more awareness and counselling amongst teachers and others in this regard," she said.