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HYDERABAD, Jan 16: Preliminary inquiry report submitted to the Hyderabad district nazim

HYDERABAD, Jan 16: Preliminary inquiry report submitted to the Hyderabad district nazim has exonerated the school teacher, Buland Iqbal, from the charge of corporal punishment and has blamed the student and his family for not disclosing the fact that he was suffering from a ‘chronic illness’ that culminated into tuberculosis.

The report, compiled by a three-member committee comprising DCO Aftab Ahmed Khatri (chairman), EDO revenue Barkat Ahmed Rizvi and EDO health Dr Sharif Rathore (members), has proposed that the secretary health should be requested to form a high level medical board to look into complaints of student’s family regarding the treatment provided to him at the hospital.

The report has made some confusing observations and seems to have given no credence to the complaints of the father and brother of the student, Mudassar Aslam, that he was severely punished by his teacher at school that may have aggravated his physical condition on Nov 21 which required two intestinal surgeries.

The most glaring omission in the report is that of Dr Bilal Rasool, the doctor of surgical unit-III, Civil Hospital, who had operated upon the student when he was first admitted to the hospital in November.

The doctor had stated that when he operated upon the boy, he found that his intestines were jumbled and infected. The inquiry committee did not call him to record his statement at least to verify any physical punishment in shape of the 100 sit ups that might have led to such intestinal obstruction in a 13-year-old student.

The committee also did not hear Dr Ambreen who had also examined the boy.

These two doctors had convinced the parents to allow them to operate, saying otherwise it would lead to brain death because of acute low blood pressure of the boy.

The committee members have passed the buck to a future medical board, if constituted, to look into the case from health point of view and in the light of complaints of the victim’s family.

In the findings, the view of Dr Wajid, the in-charge of the paediatrics ward, has been upheld by the inquiry committee that the boy was suffering from tuberculosis and during the course of treatment he died. It was the same doctor who, according to the father, was not ready to admit his son in his ward, saying it was a case to be handled by surgeons.

The committee has blamed the family for not being aware of the fact that their son was suffering from a ‘chronic illness’ and that he was habitual in leaving school without intimation.

The report quoted statements of 13 students, including three former and 10 present, who all appreciated teacher Buland Iqbal as a ‘competent teacher and sociable person.’

Statements of Mudassar’s father, Mohammad Aslam, his brothers Owais and Muzamil were also incorporated in the report.

The committee heavily relied on the statements of students, headmaster, peon, a school management committee member and another teacher Sachedino. They all have stated that they never heard that Buland Iqbal had tortured students or awarded severe punishment to them.

It is quite interesting to note that on the one hand the committee observed that “Mudassar was not severely punished by the teacher as he was given ‘a few sit ups/slaps.’ This type of minor punishment normally does not lead to serious medical implications” but at the same time the committee proposes that “fresh instructions may be issued by the Hyderabad EDO education to all heads of government and private schools to ensure that no ‘corporal punishments’ to the students is given”.

It is again surprising to note that even after giving no credence to the parents’ claim that the boy was a victim of corporal punishment or torture, the committee at the same time blamed the parents for not mentioning torture inflicted on the student at the time of sick report when he was first brought to the hospital.

Meanwhile, an inquiry committee of the education department also absolved Buland Iqbal of the same charge. The report has been provided to the district nazim’s inquiry committee.

This committee relied on death certificate issued from the hospital, citing ‘cardio respiratory failure’ as the cause of boy’s death which is in sharp contrast to the opinion of the above mentioned committee which cited tuberculosis as the cause of death as per doctors’ view.

Mudassar died on January 10 in the Civil Hospital’s paediatrics ward. According to his family he suffered from severe abdominal pain and vomiting on Nov 21 after he was forced by the teacher to do 100 sit ups in the school. He underwent two intestinal surgeries but never recovered.
Source: Dawn
Date:1/17/2008

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