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Class IX madrasa student thrashed for protesting poor food in midday meal; may affect vision and hearing ability

Family lodges police complaint. But father of the boy is too poor to take him to a hospital in district headquarters about 50 kms away.

cities Updated: Apr 21, 2017 17:54 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Habibur Rahaman at his house being nursed by his mother.(HT Photo)

A class IX student of a madrasa in Bengal is on the verge of losing vision and hearing ability after he was allegedly thrashed by the teacher-in-charge (TIC) of the institution. His crime: he was recording the poor quality of food served in the midday meal of the school.

The family members of the victim, Habibur Rahaman, have already lodged a police complaint against the TIC of Hossainnagar Darul Ulum Senior Madrasa Akhbar Sheikh.

Read: UP madrasa to introduce ‘anti-terrorism’ course in its curriculum

“The TIC hit me with his hand and sticks. So did two security guards of the school,” Rahaman alleged.

Madrasas in Bengal have rarely attracted controversy for the poor quality of midday meals. ( HT Photo )

Sources from the madrasa told HT that on Tuesday Rahaman was dragged to the room of the teacher-in-charge when he was found recording rotten eggs that were cooked for the midday meal. They also alleged that students between class I and VII I and often served poor quality food in midday meals. The students have also stated agitation in the school earlier over substandard food.

On Wednesday, the boy consulted a local doctor in Bhagabangola, who advised that he should be taken either to the hospital at Berhampore, or Kolkata for proper treatment. On Thursday, his father took Rahaman to Jiaganj rural hospital that did not have eye specialists, who advised the same.

But Rahaman’s father is a poor agricultural labourer and told HT that he does not have the money to take his son to the district headquarters of Berhampore, about 50 kms away, to get him treated at a government hospital. Kolkata is about 260 kms away from Bhagabangola.

”Rahaman was instigated by some teachers of my school to make these false claims. I know he has lodged an FIR against me but I didn’t beat him up. I just rebuked him for making the video footage,” said TIC Akhbar Sheikh. He also said he is not responsible if he is complaining of reducing eyesight or hearing ability.

Rahaman started recording the quality of food on a friend’s cell phone to furnish proof to the block development officer to whom they earlier complained about the midday meal in the madrasa. ( HT Photo )

“The teacher-in-charge (TIC) often buys poor quality eggs from some specific persons at a low price so that he can keep a commission. Earlier, we brought the matter to the notice of local block development officer. He told us to provide concrete evidence. That’s why I was recording it on mobile phone,” said Habibur Rahaman.

The boy alleged that two security guards dragged him to the TIC’s room, where he thrashed him brutally for daring to conspire against him.

Read: 45 students take ill due to food poisoning in Purnia

”We have started a probe and soon legal action will be taken against the accused teacher,” said a senior officer of Bhagabangola police station.

The boy told HT that on Tuesday, when he went to school around 1.30 pm to write a test, he saw several students agitating against rotten egges served to them on that day. “The cooks of the self help group who prepared the meal told the students that TIC Akhbar Sheikh asked them to cook the meal with the rotten eggs,” said Rahaman.

“Then I started recording video footage of the rotten eggs using a mobile phone of a friend so that we could produce it to the BDO. The security guards spotted me recording the incident and dragged me to the TIC’s room who beat me up mercilessly,” Rahaman told HT.

“I felt unwell and couldn’t complete the examination. Now I am having trouble hearing things properly and my eyesight is also getting affected. I have already visited a local doctor and I have been asked to go to Berhampore or Kolkata for treatment,” he added.

”I work as a daily labourer in somebody else’s field. I don’t have the money to take my son elsewhere for treatment. I want stern punishment for the teacher,” said the victim’s father Makram Sheikh. He has another son and a daughter.

First Published: Apr 21, 2017 17:54 IST