Vishva-Bharati case: Girl refuses to go back to school

Published: 10th July 2012 05:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2012 05:48 PM   |  A+A-


The 10-year-old student who was allegedly made to drink her own urine in West Bengal's Visva-Bharati campus as a punishment for bedwetting says she does not want to continue in the same school.

"I won't go back to the hostel. I want to study in another school. They may again ask me to do the same thing," said the Class 5 student of Patha Bhavan school.

She said her parents had agreed to her request.

"It is so shameful for me to lick my own urine. Being a 10-year-old, when I do not believe in such superstitions, how the warden can have faith in such things?" she said.

The Visva-Bharati university authorities have claimed that the warden, Uma Poddar, asked her to lick the urine since she believed the practice would cure her of bedwetting.

The authorities, after receiving flak from all quarters on the issue, have requested the girl's parents to make her a day scholar.

"We got a call from the university today asking us to take back our daughter and continue her studies as a day scholar," said Poonam Mistri, the girl's mother.

Meanwhile, the police, after being rebuked by the court for going "soft" on the warden, have lodged a case under section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act which deals with cruelty to a child and has a maximum punishment of six months imprisonment or fine or both.

"Following the court's order, we have brought in section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act against Poddar," Superintendent of Police (Birbhum) Rishikesh Meena said.

The incident has attracted severe criticism from all quarters and also reached the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sought detailed reports from the university and the state government.

West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan has also reportedly sought a report from the university.

According to the complaint filed by the parents, the incident occurred Saturday evening when Poddar, while on an inspection, pulled up the girl for bedwetting. She allegedly then sprinkled salt on the urine and made the girl lick her urine as a punishment.

After the girl told her mother about the ordeal, her parents and several other people stormed the hostel premises and allegedly manhandled Poddar.

Following the incident, the university set up a four-member fact-finding committee, headed by former dean of students welfare Aruna Mukherjee, to probe the matter.

Acting on the report, the university relieved Poddar of her duty as warden.

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