The article has been republished from Times of India, August 27, 2017
RAIPUR: At least four tribal students have died in last ten days at residential schools and porta-cabins in Bastar division raising serious concern on negligence of their health and care at the government run hostels yet again. While two students died at Dantewada and Bijapur hostels, a six-year-old boy died on Saturday at a hostel in Sukma district while another girl had mysteriously succumbed to injuries on Thursday. The autopsy report indicates that the girl was badly beaten and punished before she died.
Six-year-old who was residing at Keratong hostel of Sukma district died on Thursday. According to hostel superintendent Mithilesh Markam the girl complained of diarrhoea on Tuesday and her condition stated deteriorating on Wednesday after which she was taken to hospital. After primary treatment, she was sent back to hostel where she died next day early morning.
Though superintendent claims that the girl’s stomach was upset, the autopsy report revealed that the minor tribal girl died of head injuries and internal bleeding. She had wounds on her head and legs indicating that she was beaten with a hard substance.
While it was found that nearly half a dozen more children were reported sick and suffering from seasonal diseases, hostel superintendent said that their treatment was underway.
However, the girl’s sister residing in same hostel quoted that the girl was beaten and punished and was asked to stand in rain without clothes for nearly two hours due to which the girl fell seriously ill.
Parents and students organizations in Sukma have demanded for departmental inquiry in the case and have also demanded for deployment of a nurse at hostel to attend emergencies. They also alleged that the department officers seldom visit the hostels which is why students become vulnerable to beatings and molestation.
The Gond tribal community has agitated saying that they would stage massive protest if the action isn’t taken in the case. The parents said that the girl and her sister were absolutely fine till Tuesday and what happened just in one day, that they had to receive dead body of their girl.
Amid no action taken or investigation over death of tribal girl, Sukma collector Prakash Chandra Maurya told TOI, “Police is doing the primary investigation however, if it’s needed, I will order a magisterial inquiry and would collect facts and evidences. If there’s any negligence found on part of hostel authoritites, action would be taken against them.”
He added that though he hasn’t seen the autopsy report, he would take the matter seriously.
Moreover, Sukma district is andemic to malaria mainly during monsoon and most children are suffering from the disease. We have already worked towards its prevention by cleaning the drinking water, providing mosquito nets to all hostels, administering medicines against malaria and spreading awareness,” collector clarified.
Meanwhile, another boy died on Saturday while he was being shifted to Jagdalpur Maharani hospital from Sukma where he studies at a porta-cabin at Gaadiras. The boy Bansi Yadav was ailing since two days and his condition worsened on Friday. His autopsy wasn’t done as boy’s parents refused.
After two days boy was dead. While there was an inquiry ordered in the case, negligence was found on superintendent’s part and she was suspended.
With number of deaths being reported from Bastar, secretary women and child department, M Geetha told TOI, “Though the tribal hostels fall in purview of tribal department, now that TOI has brought this to my notice, I would take cognizance in the issue and as chairperson of monitoring committee, would seek detailed report from collector and SP followed by an inquiry. Would also find what preventive measures were being taken against diseases.”
Image : Representational
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