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18 students thrashed by trustee: Thane school’s failure to say sorry prompted police complaint

The trustee, Shilpa Gautam, used a fibre rod to beat up 18 students, aged 12 to 15 years, for playing music on Wednesday

mumbai Updated: Feb 17, 2018 01:15 IST
Ankita G Menon
Ankita G Menon
Hindustan Times
Thane,Thane school,corporal punishment

An apology and explanation from a Thane school over the ‘gruesome’ corporal punishment would have discouraged the parents of students who were thrashed by its trustee from filing a police complaint against her.

The management of Gautam Primary and Secondary English Medium School is yet to apologise to the parents.

The trustee, Shilpa Gautam, used a fibre rod to beat up 18 students, aged 12 to 15 years, for playing music on Wednesday. They were rehearsing for an event in the last period on Wednesday. Of the injured, three students suffered head injuries and fractures to their wrists.

Gautam was booked under section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and released on bail on Friday.

Parents first picketed the three-storey school building on Thursday, seeking an explanation and apology for the ‘gruesome act’. They were forced to file a police complaint as no body from the school came forward to address their grievance. They again stood outside the school on Friday to hear from the school, but to no avail.

Parents are furious over being cold-shouldered. “We have not had any communication from the school authorities especially the trustee. On Wednesday, when the incident occurred, we kept mum as we were told that Shilpa Gautam will meet us and apologise. It’s two days since the incident and the school has not apologised. When we went to the hospital, did we realize how serious injuries were and we immediately approached the school. None of the school staff was responding,” said Bindu Jayan, mother of a Class 9 student, whose left hand was fractured.

Another parent, Soniya Rathod, whose son was also injured, said, “We are only demanding an explanation for such a gruesome act. Children who are 12 to 15 years old are being beaten up brutally for a silly reason. We are not here to create a ruckus, but no one is coming forward to talk to us.”

The 50-year-old school has around 500 students in its English medium section. Another trustee of the school, Ashish Gautam the husband of Shilpa, lives on the ground floor.

However, principal Jyoti Naidu has supported the injured students.

“These children are my responsibility, I have seen them grow and they maintain discipline. I do not support the gruesome act. Children can be disciplined with words too. However, as the principal, it is also my responsibility to ensure other children are not affected and the exams go as scheduled.”

Trustee Ashish was not available for comment despited repeated attempts from HT.

4 of 18 students have Class 10 exams this week

Among the 18 students who were injured, four of them will be appearing for their class 10 board exams; one among them was traumatised by the incident and was weeping consistently on Thursday. “When we took him to Thane Civil Hospital, they asked him to be admitted immediately due to internal head injuries. However, he was so scared by the developments of the day that he refused to be in the hospital and we had to bring him home. He will be appearing for his board exams next month and practical exams approaching this week, we had to send him to school,” said Mohammed Mulani, father of Asad Mulani had injuries on his head.

Another student, Sejal Prajapati has a hairline fracture on her thumb, “She is refusing to go to school today as she is worried with Thursday’s incidents. As all parents gathered at the school and were demanding action, she was worried she may have to face the repercussions within the classroom. After much cajoling from friends she agreed to attend school as she is in the 10th standard and it is necessary to attend class,” said Geeta Prajapati, mother.

Dr S V Makode, Additional Civil Surgeon, Thane Civil Hospital, said, “On Thursday, 13 girls and 5 boys of 13 to 15 age group were at our trauma care unit. They had injury marks on their hands, which seemed like they were hit with something harsh. We gave first aid to 15 students and they left immediately, remaining was asked to be admitted as they had some serious injuries. However, as the children started crying, parents took them home late at night itself.”

First Published: Feb 17, 2018 01:14 IST