Dehradun: A boarding school near Rishikesh has come under scanner for allegedly trying to cover up a crime incident that took place on its premises. The school management is said to have hurriedly buried a 12-year-old boy's body on the campus after he was beaten to death with cricket bats and wickets by his seniors.
A report in one of the national dailies quoted Usha Negi, chairperson of the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, as saying that when she arrived at the school after receiving the information, she found the school administration had buried the body.
"The incident occurred on March 10 and our team was informed the next day, following which we made the visit," she said, adding that the school management did not even inform the parents, who live in Hapur.
According to police, the incident occurred when some students of Children's Academy near Rishikesh had gone on an outing and 12-year-old Vasu Yadav allegedly stole a packet of biscuit from a shop. The shopkeeper then reported the matter to school authorities, prompting the management to cancel permission of all students to leave the campus. "This infuriated the fellow student, who beat up Yadav," Ranipokri police station in-charge PD Bhatt said.
Reports in local media said that not only was the boy beaten up by class XII students with cricket bats and wickets, they also tortured him and poured cold water. After the assault, the victim remained in the class room for the next few hours till he was found by the hostel warden.
SSP Dehradun Nivedita Kukreti was quoted as saying that Yadav was beaten in phases in the afternoon, and was taken to hospital in late evening, where he was declared dead.
Dehradun addition superintendent police (rural) Parmendra Dobhal told News18 that the doctors initially said that the boy died due to food poisoning but the postmortem report revealed that the student died because of internal injuries.
Yadav's father Pappu said that he was informed over phone that his son died of food poisoning. The autopsy was conducted after the father approached Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
SCPCR chairperson Usha Negi said that she had visited the school for minority students thrice and found that it was short of facilities. "There are no CCTV cameras. We will recommend for action against the school," she added.
Three school staff and two 19-year-old students have been held for their involvement in the crime, director general (law and order) Ashok Kumar said, adding that the accused will be booked under POCSO Act and other relevant sections of IPC.
One Kewal, who claimed to be the manager of CBSE affiliated school, told News18 over phone that theirs is a "minority educational institution meant for the wards of leprosy patients". "The child was buried on the campus as per Christian rituals and with the consent of parents," he said.
Shopkeeper Lekpal Singh Rawat, who had complained about Yadav, expressed shock and grief over the incident, but added that he was "forced to complain". "This was not the first time when someone stole from the shop. I had to inform the authorities," he said.
The incident has sent shock waves in the state. In September, a minor girl was raped at a school by the students. Later in the year, a girl enrolled in a boarding school was molested by her teacher who was booked under POCSO.