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Activists demand tit-for-tat for warden who forced girl to drink urine
On Saturday, Uma Das, a hostel warden at Karabi Hostel of Patha Bhavan School in Shantiniketan made one of the resident girls lick her own urine as a punishment to bed-wetting. Following a police report from the girl's parents, police arrested the warden who was released on bail on Monday. The entire nation stands shocked at the barbaric act as PMO office acted quickly to sought a detailed report on the issue.

“CHILDREN ARE living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love,” Rabindranath Tagore said once. The nobel winning poet would have faced great humiliation had he been living to see what a so called ‘teacher’ has done to a student in an university founded by him.

‘A central university and an institution of national importance,’ reads out the first line on Vishva Bharati website. On Sunday, the university managed to attract national eyeballs only for the wrong reasons. A warden at one of the university hostels allegedly made a female student drink her own urine as a punishment of bed-wetting. The news came as a shock to the entire nation and more so millions of Bengalis who take pride in calling themselves a cultured community. The incident comes just a few weeks after one of the students in another part of Bengal was stripped down of her skirt by her teacher as a punishment. And in a similar development the accused in this case too finds her free on bail just after few hours of the complaint being registered.

Vishva Bharati boasts of having the Prime Minister of India in the Chancellor position. So it came as no surprise when our ‘underachiever’ Prime Minister’s office took special interest in bypassing all protocols and reach out to seek for an immediate report through the human resource development ministry.

The teacher who was set to retire within a few days is said to have clarified her stance by saying it was not her intention to victimize the girl but she had known of incident where the problem of bedwetting has been cured by such treatments.

Renowned RTI activist Subhash Agarwal has condemned the incident and the local government’s inaction in the strongest terms. “Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) should be complimented for taking cognizance of serious news-item about a child made to drink urine at Vishva Bharti University (Shanti Niketan), bypassing many other government-functionaries and commissions etc. However the incident seems to be practically unbelievable. If the incident was indeed true, release of the guilty warden on bail was still a bigger crime. Matter requires some concrete practical approach rather than being allowed to fade away with time in the name of forming a probe-committee, submission of the probe-report, study of the report and then never-coming concrete action after public-memory fades away,” Mr Agarwal said in an email.

At the same time, Mr. Agarwal has also requested the media to come forth and give a platform to the accused teacher to at least speak out her version. “Practical remedy is to make the concerned warden present before media, where she can also give her own version on the incident in a sort of Lok Adalat. Otherwise present judicial system will linger on for years justifying the proverb ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. In case incident proves to be true, a ‘tit for tat’ approach should be adopted in full media-glare with the guilty warden so as to be the only effective check to prevent future such incidents. It is a matter of surprise and shock that those in West Bengal government have not so far reacted to the incident, with political faces missing from TV panel-discussions on the incident,” Mr Agarwal suggested.

Even as the court reprimanded the police for slapping lighter charges on the teacher and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights taking account of the situation, one keeps wondering where we are headed as a nation that once boasted of rich cultural heritage.

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