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Kolkata Church-school principal in the dock

Christians disagree with court ruling on student’s suicide

Kolkata Church-school principal in the dock
Former students in solidarity with the principal and accused teachers in front of the school
Julian Das, Kolkata

February 1, 2011

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Christian educationists see bias in a court sanctioning the trial of the principal of a Church school for allegedly abetting a student’s suicide. The Kolkata sessions court yesterday rejected an appeal from the principal and three teachers of La Martiniere for Boys School against an earlier order for their trial. The Church of North India, a Protestant grouping, manages the school. The principal and three teachers were booked under several counts such as voluntarily causing hurt, punishing without grave provocation and negligence of duty. The case arose after Rouvanjit Rawla, an eight grader of the 175-year-old school, committed suicide on Feb. 12, 2010. The principal had caned him four days earlier. “We cannot agree with the court’s ruling,” says Jesuit Father Andre Bruylants, former principal of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata. According to him, a section of the press has “highly exaggerated” the matter. “There is not much truth in what has been reported.” The priest also said he has “inside” information that the principal had given only “a mild stroke” to the student for indiscipline. The police accused three teachers of being the principal’s accomplice. Father Bruylants pointed out that the student’s parents had separated after divorce. The publicity it received could have been a reason for the suicide, he added. Sister Philomena Kundukulam, a school principal, holds the student’s family more responsible for “abetting suicide” than the school. The fact that the boy lacked discipline showed that the family had not given him much emotional support, the Daughters of the Cross nun said. She said educational institutions in the country would face serious repercussions if the court punishes the accused. Teachers may not know how to correct erring students, she added. Sister Kundukulam termed the court ruling a biased and an attack on quality education Christian minority institution impart. The court has set tomorrow to give its verdict. The school spokesperson said they would appeal if the court convicts the four accused. Related report PM seeks Church help on education targets IE13119.1639
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