La Martiniere head sorry; Sibal says it's not enough
Eight days after an FIR was registered against the principal and three teachers for a student's suicide, the principal of La Martiniere for Boys Sunirmal Chakravarthi apologised for caning 13-year-old Rouvanjit Rawla. HT reports.kolkata Updated: Jun 15, 2010 23:31 IST
Eight days after an FIR was registered against the principal and three teachers for a student's suicide, the principal of La Martiniere for Boys Sunirmal Chakravarthi apologised for caning 13-year-old Rouvanjit Rawla.
But he argued it couldn't have driven the boy to suicide and refused to step down from his position.
"I knew that caning was banned and I am sorry that I caned Rawla. I was punished for my act by the school. The managing committee had issued a warning to me. But in no way am I responsible for his death," the principal said.
"There was a gap of four days between my caning the child and his committing suicide," he said.
Chakravarthi's apology was, however, considered insufficient by Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.
"Sorry is not enough and since the school is under the ICSE, it is up to the council to ensure that a fair enquiry happens," Sibal said on the phone from New Delhi.
But Chakravarthi's apology seemed to soothe sentiments in the Rawla household.
"We have always demanded that the principal apologise. Now that he has done it, let the law take its course," said Rouvanjit's father Ajay Rawla, whose son had hung himself on February 12.
Chakravarthi brushed aside demands for his resignation.
"I am no criminal but a teacher. I will not tamper with evidence and I have nothing to hide so there is no reason for me to step down," he said.
Neil O'Brien, chairman of the Indian Council for Secondary Education and former governing body member of La Martiniere, said, "Two members of the governing body, including me, wanted to be tough on him. But we have been removed from the governing body. Maybe for some reason the school wants to protect the principal."