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Indian school removes priest over corporal punishment

Vice-principal of Jharkhand school accused of unlawful beating of student who forgot handbook
Indian school removes priest over corporal punishment

Bishop Hartmann Academy in Jharkhand state’s capital Ranchi has removed its priest vice-principal after he used corporal punishment on a student. (Photo supplied)

Published: May 10, 2019 10:57 AM GMT
Updated: May 10, 2019 10:57 AM GMT

A Catholic school in India’s Jharkhand state has removed its priest vice-principal after he allegedly used corporal punishment on a student.

Father Prem James Tigga of Bishop Hartmann Academy, a high school in state capital Ranchi, was accused of beating a Grade 6 student on April 8 for allegedly not paying the previous month’s fees and not bringing his school handbook to the class.

Ranchi Archdiocese spokesman Father Anand David Xalxo said the Capuchin-run school has “admitted the mistake and has removed the priest from his office with immediate effect.”

“The school does not encourage corporal punishment for students,” he told ucanews.com.

The school’s action follows protests from a students’ group and a police complaint from the parents of the student.

The National Students Union of India protested in front of the school on April 9 demanding removal of the priest, saying he had violated a ban on corporal punishment.

Neeraj Dixit, the father of the student, complained to police seeking action against the school’s management for inflicting corporal punishment on his son in violation of the law.

India banned corporal punishment with a law enacted in 2009 to ensure the right to universal education. The federal Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2010 renewed its guidelines making corporal punishment an act punishable with jail terms and fines.

Dixit said his son was hit six times with a stick and another child in Grade 11 was hit nine times. “My son has bruises and swelling. He was in so much pain that I took him to a doctor,” Dixit told a local newspaper.

School official Michael Acharjee told ucanews.com that the priest punished the boy “for not bringing the school diary.”

“It was nothing planned to hurt the boy. It was an unintentional act. It is also not true that the priest beat up the boy several times and also other students for not paying fees in time,” he said.

In April, a Catholic school in Manipur state was burned down after students were angered by disciplinary action against some students.

Even though it is banned, corporal punishment continues in several schools as a means to discipline children.

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