A clash among some students of the prestigious Lawrence School at Sanawar in Kasauli hills of Himachal Pradesh has left 11 of them injured, forcing the school authorities to expel seven Class 12 students.
The alleged scuffle on last Monday involved a number of Class 12 students who beat up their juniors, especially some Class 11 students.
Arun Gupta, the father of one of the students allgedly injured, told IANS from Chandigarh that his son Achal had suffered ear-drum injuries in both ears and was not able to hear properly.
"Other students have also received injuries. There were lapses on part of the school authorities in taking immediate action. The school principal has assured us of action so we did not file a complaint with police. We got our son medically examined at a hospital in Mohali," Arun Gupta said.
The victims were allegedly beaten with belts, wet towels and hockey sticks.
School headmaster Parveen Vashishta told IANS Sunday that it was not a case of ragging, but a "scuffle" between senior and junior students of the school.
"All the seven students have been expelled and they were asked to vacate the hostel. The matter has been referred to the school governing body and any action in the matter would depend on its decision. We have sent the senior students home," he said.
Vashishta said students of Class 11 and 12 scuffled Monday night following which a disciplinary committee was constituted. It found seven students of Class 12 guilty and they were asked to leave.
He said the seniors had reportedly asked some juniors to shout raucously inside the campus during a girls' match but they refused. This led to an altercation and finally a scuffle.
The incident comes less than two months after a first-year medical student, Aman Kachroo, was severely beaten up by drunk seniors at the Rajindra Prasad Medical College at Tanda near Kangra town during a ragging bout.
Kachroo died a few hours after the beating, leading to nationwide condemnation of the ragging incident and the inability of the college authorities and the state government to stem the ragging rot.
An embarrassed Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Sunday asked Solan superintendent of police S.P.S. Verma and the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to probe the incident.
Verma said he had received no complaint. "We visited the school this (Sunday) evening to inquire into the matter and came to the conclusion that it was just a case of clash among students on the school campus," Verma told IANS.
"We met most of the students who were assaulted by their seniors, but their injuries were not grave. No one was admitted to the hospital here. They were examined by school doctors. One student, Achal Gupta of Chandigarh, got injuries in the ear," Verma added.
"There has been no complaint either from the school authorities or the students. Action will be initiated as soon as any complaint is received," Verma maintained.
Gupta, however, said 10 students were examined at the Fortis Hospital in Mohali April 28.
"You see lapses on the part of the school authorities. The incident occurred on Monday (April 25) night and we came to know about it from a parent on Wednesday. When we reached the school in the evening, eight parents of the victims were in the school to lodge their complaint. On the assurance of the school headmaster, we decided not to lodge any complaint," he said.
"Most of the parents of the boys beaten up are scared to speak against the school management, fearing a backlash," Gupta added.
The Class 12 boys sent back home belong to Punjab, Chandigarh and Delhi. The residential public school boasts of alumni like Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and actor Sanjay Dutt.