A bowl of puffed rice was the cause of bloodshed at a residential school in Salboni — a corner of West Bengal's underdeveloped, Maoist-infested West Midnapore district.
On August 16, five hungry older boys of Salboni High School had finished their 14-year-old friend's puffed rice (muri), which he had got from home. When Dipankar Mal asked about the missing food, the boys beat him up and slashed him all over with razor blades.
“They threatened me with dire consequences if I revealed the incident,” Dipankar told HT. Luckily for him, he was spotted by the hostel authorities and received timely medical help.
Son of a poor farmer from village Urasai, Dipankar had been admitted in the school last year. Over the weekend, his family lodged two complaints - one with the school headmaster and other with the police.
On Monday, the police charged the accused boys under Sections 323 and 325 of the Juvenile Justice Act and later, they were released on bail.
"We have asked the boys - students of class IX and X -- to leave the hostel. We have also asked the authorities to stop their grant," said headmaster Prakash Mahato.
The final decision about the boys' future will be taken on Wednesday.
Local Block Development Officer Jayanta Biswas said he has asked the police to submit a detailed report. "We have also received letters from the school asking us to stop the grant of the accused boys," he added.