2 teachers of Gurukul arrested

Palghar :  The Virar police on Thurs-day morning arrested two teachers of the Vagad Gurukul International School in connection with the death of three students whose bodies were recovered on Wednesday morning from a culvert that flows near the school hostel.

These teachers, the parents of the deceased have alleged, had subjected the three students to corporal punishment for underperforming in exams and, this, in turn drove them to commit suicide.

An FIR was registered on Thursday against Sanskrit teacher Ripusudan Shivkumar Garg and PT teacher Sandeep Janya Palwa and they have been booked under IPC sections 324, 323, 506.

Another FIR was registered against these two teachers under Juvenile Justice Act under section 305, 324, 34. The two accused were produced in Vasai court and remanded to police custody till September 1.

Till the time the postmortem report unravels the facts behind the deaths, the theory that the students had fled the hostel as they wanted to escape severe corporal punishment is doing the rounds. The punishment was exemplary, so that in 20-marks assessment if a student got 5, he would get 15 smacks. Often a blunt object was used for the merciless smacking, it is claimed. Also a few students on the school premises have been found to have bruises and swellings.

Palghar SP Suvez Haque said, “We have recovered several items from the spot where the bodies were found — a pen drive, snacks packets, a school bag, and sandals. We have seized from the school the hard disk storing the CCTV footage. We have also spoken to students who admitted that they would get caned when they underperformed. The bloated bodies made it difficult for us to conduct the preliminary investigation and hence we are awaiting the postmortem report. It will reveal the exact cause of death which could be suicide, homicide or some kind of sexual assault.”

Students have alleged that the living conditions in the hostel were pathetic. Also, they would be chided and, often, given a thrashing if they watched TV beyond the permissible time. They were not even allowed to speak to their parents on a regular basis as phone conversations were restricted.

Haque said that the police was trying to coordinate with all the schools in Palghar and had requested them to approach issues like corporal punishment with more sensitivity.

Vishal Rajemahadik

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