The 12-year-old’s sisters met him during Sunday mass at a church on the outskirts of Dehradun on March 10. That was the last time they spoke to him. In the afternoon, the boy was beaten to death allegedly by two senior students in a boys’ hostel of a school outside Dehradun.
The school authorities covered up the incident by saying the death was death due to food poisoning, police said. Almost two weeks later, an FIR was registered against the two students who allegedly killed the boy, and the school authorities for allegedly trying to protect the killers.
On Tuesday, the two students were arrested on charges of murder. The manager-in-charge, physical training instructor and warden of the hostel were also arrested for allegedly protecting the two students, and hiding facts related to the murder.
According to the police investigation, the children were heading to the church on March 10 when the 12-year-old allegedly stole a pack of biscuits from a shop on the way. The shopkeeper reported the incident to the school, after which the school authorities scolded the boy and cancelled the outing.
Angry with the cancellation of the outing, the two senior students allegedly beat the 12-year-old with a cricket bat and stump in the hostel.
According to the police, the boy was beaten and tortured continuously from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm, after which he fainted and was left in the study hall. The cricket bat was allegedly hidden in the physical training instructor’s almirah, and the stump was burnt with garbage.
Later that evening, the hostel warden found the unconscious 12-year-old in the study hall. When picked up by the staff, he started vomiting and was rushed to a hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival
The victim’s father, who lives in an ashram in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, said that at 7.50 pm that day the school authorities informed him that his son was unwell and that he must reach the hospital. “At 2.30 am, I reached the hospital where the body was kept, but the hospital staff did not permit me to see the body,” the father said. “School authorities told me my son died of food poisoning after having rajma chawal.”
However, after the postmortem in AIIMS Rishikesh on March 11, one of the doctors in the hospital told him that his son died due to physical injuries, the father said. “I rushed to the school authorities and pleaded them to get the culprits arrested, but they did not relent,” he said.
The body was buried in a graveyard near the school at 7.30 pm on March 11, the father said.
Following intervention by Usha Negi, chairperson of the state’s Child Rights Protection Commission, the father filed a complaint with police. The post-mortem report, which came on March 23, said that the death was due to internal bleeding from internal injuries. An FIR was then registered against the two students and the school authorities.
SSP Dehradun Nivedita Kukreti said, “The school authorities tried to hide facts around the boy’s death. The post-mortem report, which stated that the death was due to internal bleeding, cleared the doubt that the death was not because of any food poisoning as the school authorities had claimed, instead the boy died after being beaten up.”
The school principal said, “The boy died on March 10, but I am unaware of the details of the incident. All available information is with the police.”