IEP New Delhi, December, 23 2022
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of the media reports that the administration of a state-run school in Mahoba district of Uttar Pradesh called a Tantrik to treat 15 girl students, who fell ill after consuming a mid-day meal. Reportedly, they were taken to hospital after police intervention. The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to human rights violations of the victim students, who instead of being taken to a hospital for treatment by the school authorities, were reportedly subjected to superstitious practices at a government-run school. Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks. It is expected to include the steps taken or to be taken to ensure that this type of incident should not recur in the future in the State. Issuing the notice, the Commission has also observed that apparently, a sub-standard mid-day meal was served to the students leading to their illness, which is indicative of the apathy of the concerned authorities. Besides, the school teachers are expected to educate the students and not to make them believe in such superstitious malpractices. According to the media reports, carried on 21st December, 2022, a video purportedly showing the girls being subjected to sorcery by a Tantrik came to the notice of the police, who chased him away before taking the ill students to the local Community Health Centre for treatment. Most of them are in the age group of 9 to 13 years. Reportedly, the villagers had blamed ghosts in the school for the illness of their children.