MANASH PRATIM DUTTA
GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - At a time when the government is trying to eliminate the scourge of class division from society and make the living conditions of backward classes better, Bijay Basfor is struggling to get justice for his nine-year-old daughter – apparently a victim of deep-rooted social prejudice.
Basfor is a sanitation worker and a resident of Harijan Colony located near Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. His daughter is a student of Harijan Sishu Bidyalaya at Ananda Nagar.
In August, he had filed two complaints with the Bhangagarh Police Station and the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), alleging that a teacher had hit her brutally on the head as punishment over her two-day absence from school. The girl’s CT scan report stated that she had mild scalp swelling.
In the complaint addressed to the ASCPCR chairperson, Basfor alleged that the teacher had inflicted such harsh corporal punishment on his daughter a number of times. He also alleged that the teacher used to engage his daughter in cleaning the school bathroom to humiliate her.
However, when contacted, the teacher said, “The incident was not intentional. It was rather an accident. The allegations of engaging the student in cleaning the school bathroom and repeated corporal punishment are not true.”
After the police complaint, Bhangagarh police lodged a case under Section 325 of IPC (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) but despite that, police have shown strange reluctance in following up the case.
The parents of the girl alleged that police were yet to take any statement from their daughter, and also took a long time in probing the case despite reminders from ASCPCR.
The ASCPCR had also written to the Commissioner of Police with a request to initiate proper steps in the case. The commission also asked the Commissioner to submit an action-taken report. But police did not respond to the directive.
Again, when this reporter inquired about the case with the Bhangagarh PS officer-in-charge Khargeswar Rabha, he simply said that investigation was going on and refused to reveal anything as to whether he had submitted the report to the commission or not.
Reacting to the developments, ASCPCR chairperson Dr Sunita Changkakoti said, “After being reminded twice, police recently sent an action-taken report. The report stated that police had lodged a case and arrested the accused. But the accused has been released on bail. We have also sent a letter to the Education Department with a request to take action against the teacher. But we have not received any action-taken report from the department.”