ISLAMABAD: A seventh grader fell victim to severe corporal punishment at the hands of a teacher at a government school in suburban Islamabad.
The student, Mohammad Umar, sustained multiple injuries on the back, head and legs after being caned and pushed into a wall. He fell to the ground and the teacher, Rashid Mehmood, kept hitting him with the stick, the student claims.
According to the student and his father, on Wednesday, Umar unsuccessfully tried to separate two boys who were arguing but wound up getting involved in the ensuing brawl. The teacher was passing by and broke up the fight. Later, the teacher called Umar over and beat him with a stick.
“Some students misinformed the teacher about me,” Umar said, adding that he tried to explain the sequence of events but the teacher did not listen.
Umar had visible red marks on his back consistent with caning.
Mehmood teaches Math, English and general science to Class VI to VIII and.
The father, Babar Khan, said that initially, when they complained to the vice principal, he did not take it seriously. “I wanted the teacher to personally apologise for why he brutally beat my son for no reason.”
Later when he was about to take up the issue with the education department and the police, area elders helped him cool down. “Teachers, the area councilor, and other local leaders visited us and we decided not to report the incident”.
Islamabad Model College for Boys Mughal, Sihala Vice-Principal Mohammad Ashfaq said he did not let the teacher to come in as it would further aggravate the situation. “All the senior teachers went to his home and apologised. The matter has been resolved,” he maintained.
Teachers are prohibited from administering corporal punish, he said, but to control misbehavior, “minor punishments” are allowed.
Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Tariq Fazal Chaudhry has taken notice of the incident and has sent a notice to the CADD director to provide him with a report at the earliest. Chaudhry took notice after an online complaint was filed in the CADD complaint cell.
According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, about 736 cases of corporal punishment were reported in 2015. These cases represent a small proportion of the actual incidences as a majority of cases go unreported due to cultural approval of violence against children for disciplinary purposes.
According to SPARC, Pakistan is included among 50 states where ‘reasonable degrees’ of violence are overlooked in the ‘better interests’ of the child.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2016.