Viswa Bharati case: warden and parents held

July 9th, 2012 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 9 (IANS) The case of a Class 5 student being allegedly made to drink her own urine in West Bengal’s Viswa Bharati campus, founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, took a curious turn Monday with both the warden and the parents being arrested and later released on bail.

Uma Poddar, the warden of the Patha Bhavan school, was held following complaints from Punita’s parents, police said. In a case of allegation and counter-allegation, the parents were also arrested later after the university complained that they had allegedly stormed the premises and jeopardised the security of the students of the Karabi Hostel where the incident reportedly took place.

“While Poddar was arrested on the basis of a complaint made by the parents of the student, the parents Manoj Mistri and Poonam Mistri were arrested following a counter complaint by the university,” said an officer of Bolpur police station.

The three were produced before a court in Bolpur, about 160 km from state capital Kolkata and released on bail. It is the nearest town to Santiniketan, which houses the Viswa Bharati campus.

According to the complaint filed by the parents, the incident occurred Saturday evening when Poddar, while on an inspection, pulled up Punita 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.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has condemned the incident as “barbaric”.

“It is absolutely barbaric. Not even animals can do this,” an outraged Shantha Sinha, the NCPCR chairperson told IANS.

“We will ensure that the guilty are punished at the earliest,” she added.

NCPCR has also sought a report from the university within seven days.

Visva Bharati was founded by Tagore. In his words, the institution “acknowledges India’s obligation to offer to others the hospitality of her best culture and India’s right to accept from others their best”.

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