News Brief

Child Commission Head Meets Minor Boy Thrashed For Wearing Tilak To School, Finds Several Lapses By Police

Swati Goel Sharma

Nov 12, 2021, 12:00 PM | Updated 12:08 PM IST

The boy in a hospital in September.
The boy in a hospital in September.
  • The Class VIII student has not resumed school even after two months.
  • In another reminder that Muslim aggression is a glaring reality while ‘Muslims under attack’ an empty political rhetoric, a minor boy was recently beaten unconscious for sporting tilak to school.

    The boy had to be hospitalised.

    Two months on, he is still recovering and has not resumed school, his father told Swarajya.

    The incident happened in September. The boy is a student of Class VIII at a government school in Ward number 4 of Gairatganj town that falls in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.

    A video of the boy was circulated on social media at that time where he was seen saying that a teacher, Nishad Begum, scolded him two days ago for sporting tilak to school. She told him that if he continued to wear tilak, she would either beat him up herself or get him thrashed by others.

    When confronted by the media, the teacher denied any involvement.

    The attackers were identified as two minor boys from the Muslim community. One of them is a student of the same school as the victim, an officer in the child commission told Swarajya.

    In a phone conversation on Thursday (11 November), the boy’s father Rambabu Sen told Swarajya that the boy is too scared to resume school.

    Children of the town walk to the school in groups and often make a stop at temples, he said.

    “It was at the temple that the pujari put tilak on his forehead,” Sen said.

    The boy is the middle child of three sons of Sen and is a year younger than the eldest. The eldest son studies at a different government school.

    “Two months have passed by. The boy refuses to go. Even we are scared of sending him alone,” Sen said. “Perhaps I will get him enrolled at the same school as his elder brother.”

    Earlier this week, the National Child Commission chairman Priyank Kanoongo met the child’s family.

    Kanoongo told Swarajya that he found several lapses in the police investigation.

    The police have not filed a first information report (FIR) in the case till date, he said. As the accused boys were minors, the police produced them before a juvenile court where they were given prompt bail.

    “The teacher against whom the boy has made clear accusations, has not figured in the police case at all,” said Kanoongo.

    In violation of child rights law, the police team that recorded the statement of the boy in the hospital wore uniform, Kanoongo said.

    “They should have gone in plainclothes. The police were supposed to take a child welfare officer along with them, but they failed to do so. It’s a serious lapse.”

    Kanoongo said that when he visited the family, he got the boy’s statement re-recorded in the presence of a child welfare officer.

    On 8 November, the commission wrote to the Raisen superintendent of police (SP), complaining that the child rights body had not received a response to its September notice.

    The commission had taken cognisance of the case through news reports.

    It had sent a notice to the police chief on 22 September asking for three documents: the child’s age proof, his medical report after the attack, and a detailed report on action taken by the police.

    In the recent letter, the commission said the boy’s family had expressed dissatisfaction with the police action and that the family told the commission that no one from the administration and police had contacted them since the incident.

    The commission has now given two days to the police to furnish their reply.

    When Swarajya called up the Gairatgang Police Station on Thursday (11 November), the station-in-charge who introduced himself as D D Azad, said that two months had passed since the incident and he did not recollect the “FIR number”.

    He dismissed the case as “false”.

    “All allegations made against the teacher were false,” he said. Asked if any arrests were made, the policeman again called the case as “false”. He did not share further information citing lack of time.

    A source in the child commission told Swarajya that an investigating officer told them that they had played down the case for fear of communal violence.

    “We asked the policeman — will you deny justice to the child because you cannot control rioters? The police are evading their duty but the commission will pursue this case,” the source said.

    Talking to Swarajya on Thursday, the boy’s father broke down several times. He said he was a poor man from the backward Nai caste, and was struggling to buy medicines for the child.

    Sen works at a barber shop, for which he pays a monthly rent of Rs 1,200.

    He said that he had been dragged into a “communal” issue for no fault of his, and many residents had turned against him. He said he was asked to vacate the one-room set he and his family were staying at after the incident.

    The house was part of a temple premises.

    Sen is a native of a district outside of Raisen, and has been staying in Gairatgang for about 15 years on rent.

    He was working at his shop when he learnt about the attack. He closed the shop and rushed to the spot.

    “My child was unconscious and drenched in water. People nearby him were sprinkling water on him so he could regain consciousness. From his wounds, it seemed he had been hit on his head several times,” he said.

    The father took the child first to a primary health centre and then to the Raisen district hospital.

    Since then, a private doctor has been treating him.

    Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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