Schoolyard bullying proved fatal in a government school near Faisalabad with the brutal murder of a seventh-grade student on Friday.
Muhammad Ahsan was beaten to death allegedly by a classmate and his uncle, who also happened to be the physical training instructor of Government High School in Chiniot district.
District Police Officer (DPO) Chiniot Shehzad Akbar confirmed the incident, identifying the culprits as Ahsan’s class fellow Muhammad Rizwan and teacher Zafar Ahmed.
Friday’s incident was not the first: Ahsan had been preyed upon before by Rizwan and Zafar – but the last of these incidents proved fatal, according to a complaint lodged by Ahsan’s father Muhammad Sarfraz, a resident of resident of Chak No147-JB.
According to Sarfraz, his son was a bright student and was admired by his fellow students and teachers. He added that, out of envy, Rizwan, who belongs to the same village as them, repeatedly tortured Ahsan, in connivance with his uncle, who was part of the school’s faculty.
Zafar would often reprimand and bully Ahsan on arbitrary pretexts during drill exercise periods, Sarfraz alleged.
He further complained that they had informed the headmaster of the school as well as the class in-charge of the PT teacher’s inappropriate attitude, yet no action was taken.
Instead, Ahsan faced intensified confrontation once Zafar and Rizwan learnt of the complaint.
Ironically, this increased bullying ultimately led to Ahsan’s death.
The details, as narrated by Ahsan’s father, are heart-wrenching.
Sarfraz alleged that Rizwan intercepted Ahsan at noon on Friday and abused and slapped him in the presence of a number of other students, to ‘teach him a lesson’ over the complaint made to the headmaster. Zafar, it is claimed, joined in on the beating, and the two are alleged to have punched and kicked Ahsan even after he had fallen unconscious.
Meanwhile, DPO Akbar said, Sarfraz arrived at the school on Friday to inform the headmaster about the latest incidents against his son, only to witness the incident.
When Sarfraz rushed to his son, he had already breathed his last.
The PT teacher told the headmaster and relatives of the deceased that the child died due to cardiac arrest.
Earlier reports suggested that Zafar had taken Ahsan to the hospital and escaped afterwards.
Rajoiya Sayeda police have registered a case under sections 302/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code against Rizwan and Zafar.
SHO Rajoiya Sayeda Khalid Rasheed told The Express Tribune that Rizwan has been arrested while the raids are being conducted to arrest Zafar, who is still at large.
The body has been sent to the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Chiniot for postmortem to determine the cause of death as well as nature of injuries, the SHO added.
A special team has been constituted to probe into Ahsan’s murder and determine the positions of the culprits who mercilessly tortured the schoolboy to death.
Villagers, family protest
Soon after the incident, hundreds of villagers and Ahsan’s relatives, carrying the deceased’s body, staged a demonstration and blocked the Faisalabad-Sargodha Road.
On the assurance of the police, the demonstrators dispersed peacefully.
(Read: Corporal punishment - Spare the rod, spoil the child?)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2011.
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