An eight grader landed in a hospital comatose after a teacher allegedly subjected him to severe corporal punishment, police and hospital sources said on Sunday. “The boy is in coma with his right side paralysed. There’s a fifty per cent chance of his recovery,” said Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad Deputy Medical Superintendant (DMS) Dr Abdul Manan while talking to newsmen.
Police quoted Muhammad Irshad as saying that his son, Danish, an eighth grader at Government High School Kakotri, went to school on Thursday after an absence of three days. To punish him for the prolonged absence, his class teacher, Abdul Qayum, beat him up with a bamboo stick and he fell unconscious. He was taken to Haripur Hospital, where he remained unconscious for an entire night. The next evening, doctors referred him to Ayub Medical Complex Abbottabad, where he remains unconscious.
When approached, DMS Manan said that the boy received an injury in the head, due to which his spinal cord was badly affected and the right side of his body was paralysed. He said the victim is under treatment and will be operated upon by neurosurgeon. He said even if the boy survives, it would take him a long time to recover.
Meanwhile, Ehjaz Khan, principal of Government High School Kakotri, confirmed that the student was punished physically, but presented a different view of the incident. He said that Danish and his three class fellows remained absent from school for three days in a row and when they went to school on Thursday, Qayum, the class in-charge, struck them on their hands with a small stick after the morning assembly. He said the punishment was exemplary to discourage them from any future absences without leave.
However, he denied the claim that the teacher had struck the student in the head. “If [the student] was hit in the head then why come he remained conscious till the evening?” he argued. Khan said the boy spent the entire day in school, reading with class fellows and after school he went to the local post office to deposit a money order. Khan suggested that when the student was grazing goats in the hilly area of the village, he might have fallen and suffered a head injury. “The student’s parents also confirmed that he was brought unconscious from the hilly area rather than from the school,” he maintained.
Khan said that an internal inquiry has also been ordered against the teacher as corporal punishment is prohibited in his school.
Meanwhile, Beer Police registered a criminal case against the teacher. He was sent to Haripur Jail on judicial remand by a judicial magistrate.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2012.