A 13-year-old girl who was allegedly punished by her school teacher to strike a grueling stress position with a brick on her back in the sun died after five days of high fever, a likely fallout of the corporal punishment she underwent.
According to the victim’s family members, the parateacher of a government school at Bhusur village in Latehar punished the teenager, Rupanti Kumari, by making her do a chicken (murga) pose for four hours on September 16 for not giving “satisfactory answers to his questions”.
Latehar Block Education Extension Officer Ashok Kumar said, “I had gone to meet the villagers who were highly agitated. Once a formal complaint is lodged with the police and the senior officials, an impartial probe will be conducted in the matter”.
Latehar superintendent of police Anoop Birthare said, “We are looking into the matter but no complaint has so far been lodged by the family members”.
Her grandmother Malo Masomat said the girl was also beaten up. “We didn’t sent her to the school to get killed,” she said.
“She was made to do murga for hours in the sun. The teacher even put a brick on her back,” said Shrawan Paswan, a social activist who brought out the case of corporal punishment after meeting the family members on Sunday.
“When she returned home from school that day, she had very high fever,” said Masomat.
They first took her to a local quack, then to a missionary hospital in Latehar, and to RIMS, which, the family members said, asked them to take her to a private hospital.
After shuttling from one hospital to another for five days, her family members brought her back home as they couldn’t afford a private hospital. She died on the same day and was buried.
“We got her treated at Latehar and Ranchi. But she died as we could not arrange for her treatment after RIMS referred her. We had no option but to take her home.”
The girl’s father had died a few years ago; the grandmother and mother work as daily-wage labourers.
The victim’s family and the villagers have demanded action against the teacher and have threatened to lock down the school if no action is taken.