The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has expressed grief over the death of a Ahmedabad schoolboy who was punished for being late. On a letter to the Gujarat Chief Secretary, the NCPCR has enquired as to what actions have been taken following the incident.
In the letter addressed to state Chief Secretary Dr. Manjula Subramaniyam, NCPCR Chairperson Shanta Sinha said: "In the light of the foregoing, the Commission is terribly upset and very sad to hear about the death of Milan Tanna, a class 12th student of Sree Narayana Guru School, who was punished for being late to school."
The letter, copies of which were also sent to Gujarat's Education Department and Chief Secretaries of all the states and Union Territories, said that apart from emphasizing with the parents of the boy, the Commission was unable to comprehend why the State Government Department of Education has not taken adequate steps to prevent the practice of corporal punishment in school-the heinous outcome such inaction has been the unwarranted death of a young life.
Pointing out that the Commission has taken a serious note of the laps in this context, Sinha asked that apart from the action initiated against the concerned teacher and school, what measures were being taken to ensure no such incident was repeated in the state.
Calling for an early reply to the letter, she further asked that what measures and safeguards were taken to ensure safety of children, forums if any, which children can approach to register their complaints.
The Commission reminded the Chief Secretary about its guidelines issued in August this year on Corporal Punishments in schools.
The letter said that the Supreme Court has banned such punishments for children in December 2000, and had directed all states to ensure that children were not subjected to punishments in schools so that they receive education in an environment of freedom, dignity and without fear.
In the earlier letter dated August 9, 2007, the Chief Secretary was conveyed that children due to fear are often silent and submit to violence without questioning. They sometimes show signals of deep hurt in their behaviour, but this goes unnoticed, perpetuating further violence on them.
Corporal punishments involve rapping on the knuckles, running on the school ground, kneeling down for hours, standing up for long hours, sitting like a chair, and beaten with a scale, pinched and slapped, sexual abuse, torture, locking up alone in classroom, electric shock, and all other acts leading to insult, humiliation, physical and mental injury, and even death.