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9 Assam school kids caned, govt talks tough
Published on 14 Jun. 2010 12:51 AM IST
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The Assam government Sunday warned of exemplary punishment to errant teachers for caning students after nine school kids were physically tortured by a drunken headmaster.
“We shall take stern action against teachers for indulging in corporal punishment in schools. No teacher should use the rod or the cane to beat students,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters.
He was reacting to an incident Saturday in Lakhimpur district in which nine Class 6 students were beaten up by Chandreswar Miri Baruah, headmaster of Gurudev Middle English School at Bordeori.
The headmaster is absconding.
All the students were admitted to a hospital. The headmaster, allegedly inebriated, beat them as they failed to answer some questions in the class.
“The students came to the hospital with visible injuries on their bodies, clear marks of injuries due to caning,” said Atul Khound, a doctor who examined the students.
The education department has ordered an enquiry into the incident.
“We have asked for a thorough probe.
If the headmaster is found guilty, he would face action,” said Loknath Sharma, the district elementary education officer.
“There were complaints against the headmaster on earlier occasions as well for coming to school drunk. He had given an undertaking not to repeat the same mistake,” Sharma said.
Last week, a Class 6 student became Assam’s first fatality to corporal punishment. The kid was tortured by two teachers for not completing his homework.
Mousam Raj Mahanta, 12, died at a hospital in Guwahati June 7. Doctors said his death was due to septic shock followed by multiple organ failure.
The incident took place at the Saraswati Siksha Niketan, an English medium school, at Mirza on the outskirts of Guwahati.
“We are not going to tolerate such action by any teachers in Assam. Very soon we are coming up with a regulatory authority for private schools,” the chief minister said.
The government in February this year drafted a tough legislation banning corporal punishment in schools with provisions for prosecuting errant teachers, including with termination from service.
The Assam Corporal Punishment for Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill is likely to become law next month.
The decision to introduce the bill follows a recent Unicef study that gave Assam schools the dubious distinction of topping the list of Indian schools where corporal punishment and humiliation of students were rampant - 99.56 percent of students in Assam were victim of corporal punishment.
More recently, a Class 8 student in Guwahati attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the second floor of the building alleging he was humiliated for speaking in Assamese inside the school.
Once the bill becomes an act, a teacher could be prosecuted on a criminal charge, suspended from service, and even be sacked if he goes for corporal punishment.

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