TODAY -

School Principal's son remanded to judicial custody
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 05 2019: The Junior Administrator of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary School, Pheiroijam Robinson (who is also the son of the school's Principal) was remanded to judicial custody till August 19 by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, today.

Pheiroijam Robinson s/o Ibohal of Canchipur was produced before the Court today, along with a prayer for remanding him in judicial custody following the completion of seven days police remand in connection with the mysterious death of Ningthoujam Babysana inside the school hostel on July 18.Concerned about the sensitivity of the case, Imphal West district police took up precautionary measures at Cheirap Court complex and its surrounding areas by deploying a large number of police personnel to prevent any kind of unwanted incident when Robinson was produced before the Court People were also not allowed to enter the Court complex.

Robinson was brought to the Court under very tight security by the IO of the SIT and during the hearing, the IO submitted that during the course of investigation, it was ascertained that the wardens tasked the students with cleaning their rooms, stairs and washrooms on a roster system and as punishments, the students were made to water the plants or were made to do frog jumps, beaten with bamboo sticks and they were also made to stand outside the classroom for making noise, sleeping in the class, not obeying the teachers etc.

On investigation, it was further discovered that on July 18, when the rising bell rang, one of the students got frightened and began crying on seeing Babysana dead.

On hearing her cry, the other roommates also woke up and they informed their warden.

All the roommates stated that they did not hear any kind of sound the previous night and were not sure of the reason for Babysana to take such an extreme step, the IO continued.

The IO mentioned that the school authorities were also examined and it was found that Standard Robarth Higher Secondary school had not fulfilled the criteria of the Supreme Court guidelines on child safety in schools that could prevent the commission of the act (hanging) by Babysana.

On further collection of evidence, it was also discovered that the school authorities had not taken up preventive measures with regard to handling emotionally vulnerable children or timely passing of information to their guardian about the same.

The post mortem report of the doctor concerned also opined that the cause of death was due to asphyxia resulting from the hanging, the IO conveyed, adding that from the accumulated facts and circumstances, it can be inferred that Babysana was driven to take the extreme step at such a young age due to the lack of prevalent psycho-social support at the school and the lack of attention for the students' well being and as such, the UD case taken on the day of the incident, was converted into a regular FIR and later handed for investigation to the SIT.

During further investigation of the case, it came to light that the students of the residential school, are under the actual charge and control of Ph Robinson, junior administrator of the school and it was also learned that he did most of the school related works on behalf of his mother Landhoni (founder cum Principal).

As such, he was arrested on July 29 and taken into police custody for seven days.

The IO continued that on July 30, the site of the incident was checked again along with mobile forensic unit, Pangei, and some member of the JAC and some documents (including the ID card of the deceased) were seized.

On examination of some of Babysana's roommates, one of the students stated that in the evening of July 14, she joined the boarding after vacation and on that night, she spotted a yellow plastic rope in the rack (with which Babysana was found hung to death) and when she asked Babysana about the rope, she had replied that it was a valuable thing she brought from home and told her (the friend) not to touch it.

Further investigation ascertained that late Babysana was staying with her parents at the farm house which belonged to her uncle at Haraorou Maning Leikai and in the evening of August 1, a similar yellow plastic rope was seized by the investigating team from the same farm house on the production of N Ibecha (who was found occupying the farm house) at the time.

During the investigation of the case, it was learned that there are two separate school buildings in the name of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary school and Ph Landhoni is the Principal cum founder of both schools and the IO submitted that there is no valid permit to run the residential school in the name of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary School.

Information was also collected from BOSEM, COHSEM and the Education Director on whether the school had valid permission to run a residential school and day school and it was confirmed that no such permission was granted.

The IO submitted that the school authorities have taken unlimited number of students in their own vested interest and most of the students were assaulted, abused and wilfully neglected and added that Ph Landhoni founder and Ph Romita were arrested on August 3 and remanded to police custody till August 6 (tomorrow) but due to health problems, the Principal is presently undergoing treatment in a hospital.

IO further conveyed that at the present stage of investigation of the case, though there is suspicion in the public domain that Babysana might have been murdered, the investigating team has not been able to find any supportive evidence in this regard till date.

The IO continued that the medical officer of the 1st post mortem opined that the death was due to asphyxia resulting from the hanging and the same was also voiced by the medical officer of the 2nd post mortem.

Furthermore, the scientific officer is of the opinion that the hanging was ante mortem, partial and could be suicide in nature, the IO explained, adding that maximum effort will be made to find out the truth behind the death of Babysana.

On the other hand, the IO revealed that during police custody remand, the arrested individuals admitted to running two schools simultaneously under the same name as well as issuing two ID cards for the students and prayed for remanding Robinson into judicial custody for further investigation of the case.

After going through the case records and hearing the submission of the IO, the Court remanded the junior administrator of Standard Robarth Hr Secondary School to judicial custody till August 19 .


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