The Human Resource Development Ministry on Thursday inquired into the visit to the La Martiniere School here by some persons claiming to be probing the suicide of a student on behalf of the Ministry.

Ramesh Bhattacharjee, a member of the team, claimed that he had gone to the school on his “own initiative” and not at the behest of the Ministry, as he claimed on Wednesday. Mr. Bhattacharjee was accompanied by two others, none of whom was associated with the Ministry.

Mr. Bhattacharjee visited the school and introduced himself as a member of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education in the HRD Ministry to the school authorities and asked for a report on the incident of the child's suicide and action taken by them. He promised a fully “neutral” investigation into the matter.

After reports that the Ministry denied that it had authorised the probe, Mr. Bhattacharjee did a turnaround and claimed that he was a member of the Rashtriya Sanskrit Parishad, an advisory body constituted by the HRD Ministry. “I had gone there on my own initiative,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, adding that he had sent a fax to Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal informing him of his visit.

According to a release issued by the school authorities, an official from the HRD Ministry called the school during the day and asked for the details of the persons who visited the school and what transpired at the meeting.

“We have sent a letter to the Ministry with the full details of what happened. We have also informed officials of the Kolkata police about the matter so that they may take action,” said Supriyo Dhar, Secretary to the Board of Governors of La Martiniere.

The suicide by a student of the school in February escalated into a major controversy on June 7, when the boy's father filed a police complaint against the principal and four teachers alleging that they had meted out corporal punishment and tortured the child.

Principal Sunirmal Chakravarthi, who admitted that he caned the boy on February 8, denied that the caning led to the suicide, four days later.


The heart of educationJune 27, 2010