JUSTICE FOR ROUVANJIT RAWLA

STATEMENT FROM EX-STUDENTS OF LA-MARTINIERE, KOLKATA We, the ex-students of La Martiniere for Boys Kolkata, are deeply disturbed and outraged by the recent incident where a student was humiliated and caned as a form of punishment by school teachers, including the principal who has apparently gone on record to apologise for it. We have been numbed by the subsequent suicide of the boy. We condemn such irresponsible actions in the strongest possible terms. We are further profoundly disappointed at the sensationalist manner in which the media has handled its coverage of this unfortunate tragedy and set out to vilify the reputation of the school. We would like to see a full formal enquiry into the caning as well as the suicide and subsequent action taken, as deemed appropriate by the authorities, irrespective of other considerations. We expect all school authorities and teachers to extend full co-operation to such enquiry. Teachers play a pivotal role to shape the growth of impressionable minds and thus we sincerely hope that the school shall henceforth be judicious in selecting those who are entrusted with this important responsibility. Caning or any form of corporal punishment cannot be tolerated and the authorities need to be vigilant to check and prevent such mal-practices within the campus. While we appreciate the crucial role of the media in highlighting any specific instance of undesirable punishment norms practised by any particular individual in La-Martiniere, we believe it is unwarranted to engage in directed slander toward this age old institution. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the bereaved parents and recognise that nothing we do or say can ever provide reparation for their great loss. We hope the school, staff and media shall be sensitive to their state and stand by them in this hour of sorrow. We further urge the media to consider the mental turmoil hundreds of other young students in school are undergoing following this tragedy and thus carry out their duties with grace. La- Martiniere, Kolkata has been the leading educational institution of this nation in its 175 years of glorious heritage. It has given us 14 of the most wonderful years of our lives, besides an excellent education and all-round development. We are sad that the misdemeanours of a few are tarnishing the reputation of this iconic institution. However, these individuals do not represent what the school stands for. In the light of this profound tragedy we urge all Martinians to recognise this and censure them for their shameful acts in the best interests of the school, its students and society at large. We are confident that the school will respond to this challenge with equal dignity as in the past and move from strength to greater strength.

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