Cruelty at school

December 2, 2016

corporal-punishment

By Soha Nisar

Muhammad Ahmed, a little more than thirteen years old should be with his friends and classmates at the Larkana Cadet College where he was a student till August this year. Instead, the young teenager lies in bed at a relative’s house in Karachi, a nasal tube pouring liquid food into his stomach to keep him alive. The boy can neither speak nor use his limbs. According to his father, Ahmed was tortured at school, apparently having been severely beaten up. This young boy’s plight is a reminder that the government still routinely fails in its duty to protect the weakest among us. According to the father, the child was tortured by the principal and a headmaster of the cadet college more than four months ago and it has taken till now for any attention to be paid to his plight. The principal of the cadet college, a retired army officer, has declined to comment on the matter. We therefore do not know why the tragedy that besieged Ahmed took place. But it is obvious a full inquiry is required. The punishments inflicted on Ahmed go far beyond discipline and are brutally sadistic. During this whole period, his father had to bear medical expenses he could scarcely afford and all pleas for help were ignored. No one has yet been held responsible and the government has not ascertained what crimes were committed. The Sindh government only burst into action once the brutality was widely covered by various news channels. It is a travesty that the poor don’t even get justice unless those in the corridors of power are forced to take action due to pressure by the media.

Almost as shocking as the torture has been the refusal of the authorities at the cadet college to accept responsibility for their criminal actions. They have tried to blame Ahmed for what was done to him. The smear campaign against him has included allegations that he suffered mental health issues and was a poor student. His father has proved this to be a pack of lies by releasing his generally excellent grades. The response from the government was inexcusable in its tardiness. The work of the inquiry has been nothing short of a fiasco so far. The medical board meant to examine the body and determine the causes of his injuries was not in a position to do its job because its ENT specialist was out of the country and no one seems to know when he will be back. Without him it may not be possible to present the report on Ahmad’s torture. It is inexcusable for the government to have taken so long to even start an. Doctors in Karachi hold out no hope that he will recover. His life has been destroyed as has that of his family. The least we can do is attempt to uncover the truth and ensure the guilty do not get away scot-free. The government needs to devise strict laws to clamp down on corporal punishment and make sure that the law is implemented too. Teachers and school administration who are involved in such inhumane acts should be dealt without mercy.