NHRC notice to Tamil Nadu on Abhinav suicide

CHENNAI OCT. 28. Taking a serious view of the suicide by a standard X student here in June last, allegedly following corporal punishment, the National Human Rights Commission has sought the comments of the Tamil Nadu Government.

The NHRC action, on a petition from a Vellore resident, in connection with the incident, assumed significance following the controversy the tragedy kicked up over corporal punishment in schools.

In its notice, the Commission has directed the Education Department Secretary, to look into the allegations in the petition and submit his comments within a month.

C. Ramesh of Filterbed Road, Vellore, filed the petition stating the death of the student was among a series of cases "which have demonstrated that various human rights conventions and court rulings have been ignored by educational and governmental authorities in Tamil Nadu". He sought a direction to the Government that it remove Section 51 of the Tamil Nadu Educational Rules immediately so that no room was given for any form of corporal punishment.

The body of Ramu Abhinav, a student of a matriculation school at Mogappair here, was found hanging in his house on June 12. His parents said he committed suicide owing to "harassment by school staff". But the institution denied the allegation.

The death stirred a controversy, with parents demanding stringent action against the management and an end to corporal punishment in all schools. The agitated parents also petitioned the State Human Rights Commission, which ordered a probe by its investigation unit. The commission also organised a two-day consultation meeting with Education department officials and principals of matriculation schools and State Board institutions to formulate recommendations to be forwarded to the Tamil Nadu Government. The suggestions have, however, not been sent yet.

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