May 20th, 2009
SHIMLA - Two students of the prestigious Bishop Cotton School here have alleged that they were being regularly bullied by their seniors. One of the students was injured after seniors allegedly beat Class 9 students Monday, the family of the victim said Wednesday.
Surjit Singh, father of the victim, said: ‘My son, who got admission in the school three months back, was (being) regularly bullied and assaulted by his seniors in the hostel. On Monday he was again beaten up by his seniors.’
Avtar Singh suffered injuries in the intestines after he was allegedly assaulted by his seniors.
‘We came to know about the incident in the morning (Tuesday). We reached the school in the evening and lodged a complaint with the principal. But he showed ignorance about the incident,’ Surjit Singh told IANS by phone from Jalandhar in Punjab.
‘In the evening we got our son examined at Shimla’s Indira Gandhi Medical College and took him home. This morning he was admitted to the civil hospital at Sultanpur Lodhi near Jalandhar,’ he said.
Another student of the same class Akashdeep Singh Turna has also alleged excesses by seniors.
Akashdeep’s father Kuldeep Singh Turna, a British citizen of Indian origin, told IANS by phone that his son was facing mental and physical torture for the past many months.
‘During the winter vacation (December-February), Akashdeep visited Britain. At that time he was so terrified that he told us that he wouldn’t return to the school. I visited India and met the principal. On the latter’s assurance, we decided to continue with his studies there. Unfortunately, such incidents didn’t end here. Now we have asked our son to leave the school and stay with his guardians,’ he said.
Turna said he has already informed the British High Commission in New Delhi about the incident.
‘This morning I have informed the high commission and asked them to inquire into the matter. Next week I am coming to India to meet the principal,’ he said.
The school headmaster Roy Christopher Robinson, however, said that it was a case of a scuffle between two groups of students.
‘A scuffle occurred on Monday night among students following which a disciplinary committee was constituted.’
‘Indiscipline would not be tolerated on the school campus. Action would be initiated against the guilty,’ he added.
The incident comes less than a fortnight after a clash among some students of another prestigious Lawrence School at Sanawar left 11 children injured, forcing the school authorities to expel seven class 12 students.
Bishop Cotton, one of Asia’s oldest boarding schools, was established in 1859. It will celebrate its 150th anniversary in July. It boasts of alumni like constitutional expert Fali S. Nariman, writer Ruskin Bond, golfer Jeev Milkha Singh and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh.