A court in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Monday granted bail to the warden of a hostel of Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan after she was arrested for allegedly forcing a class V student of Patha Bhavan to drink her own urine as punishment for wetting her bed.
The court condemned the incident and criticised the police for booking the accused under bailable charges. It also asked why the accused was not booked under the Juvenile Justice Act. It directed that the warden bear the medical expenses of the girl student who fell ill after the incident on Saturday.
The parents had lodged a complaint against Uma Poddar, the warden of Karabi Hostel of Patha Bhavan, alleging that she had cruelly punished their daughter after she wet her bed on Saturday.
“The warden was arrested on Monday morning following a complaint by the parents of the student. She was produced before a court and was later granted bail,” Rishikesh Meena, Superintendent of Police said.
Ms. Poddar was booked under sections 341, 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for wrongful detention and negligent and malignant acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life. All the sections are bailable.
A complaint was also lodged against the parents by the University authorities for allegedly attacking the warden. They were also arrested and later granted bail during the day.
Meanwhile, the University authorities claimed that the child was not asked to drink her urine but lick the wet mattress of her bed.
“The warden told the student so only to terrify her. Moreover, it is a kind of superstitious practice aimed at curing bedwetting. We, however, do not endorse it,” Vice Chancellor of the University Sushanta Dutta Gupta said.
Ms. Poddar has been removed from active duty. Asked about the arrest of the parents, the university authorities said they had only informed the police about the attack on the warden. It was the police who took follow-up action.
In a related development, a group of lawyers filed a Public Interest Litigation petition at the Calcutta High Court seeking action against those who had violated the rules framed by the Court on corporal punishment.