Solan: The ashes of ragging incident (later proved to be infighting by HP Government) have not yet cooled down that more skeletons have started tumbling out of the cupboard of Sanawar. A school employee Mr Pawan Kumar has been removed from service allegedly for supplying alcohol to the school students. Reliable sources revealed that two bottles of liquor sold @ Rs.700/- per bottle to two students of 11th class namely Panjo and Japdev Gill were recovered and are now in the possession of school authorities and an enquiry by the Bursar Mr P.K. Sharma and Dean of Faculties Dr V.K. Sharma into this incident is underway and the students involved are likely to be rusticated from the school during the summer break commencing from tomorrow. The fact is that as per school rules, students in residential schools like Sanawar are not supposed to have cash with them. The question arises how could they manage cash and make payments for such supplies?
It is surprising to note that the school headmaster Mr Praveen Vasisht had himself approached the media on 29th of April to disclose the events of ragging/infighting to the Press alongwith the action (of sending the seven 12th class students back home) he had taken. Surprisingly, the same headmaster has now preferred not to let the incidents of smuggling of liquor into the school campus leak and reach the Press. Why? Reliable sources further disclose that the main reason for the same is extension of his headmastership. His previous three yearsâ€™ term expires on June 30, 2009 and further extension was at stake at that time. So publicity of the strict action taken by the headmaster to curb such incidents could help him get favour of the Board of Governors (BOG) and fetch an extension. Now that the extension for a period of five years is reported to have been managed by Mr Vasisht from the School BOG (not yet disclosed publicly), it is, therefore, better to brush under the carpet all such issues which bring functioning and control of the school administration under scanner to keep the truth in hiding. At least at this crucial juncture when his freshly-awarded term is about to start shortly, i.e. from July 1 this year.
At the feb end of year 2004, I had witnessed as a Senior Teacher in Biology at The Lawrence School Sanawar, the then Deputy Headmaster Mr Vasisht instigating students to promote acts of indiscipline and destabilize the administration under the control of then Headmaster Prof Gautam Chatterjee. All adverse happenings at Sanawar attracted the attention of the Press immediately and got published. Mr Vasisht did succeed ultimately. Prof Chatterjee, an educationist par excellence, who was post-graduate in Philosophy and Economics from four eminent Universities of the world and had over three decades of teaching experience in renowned universities like Harvard, was finally made to leave Sanawar by the BOG in its Meeting held in the Office of the Education Secretary of India (MHRD) on December 14, 2004. It is good that â€œconcept of actionâ€ has now been introduced into Sanawar by its headmaster, though intended to save his own skin and not in any public interest or interest of the institution. An application under RTI Act, 2005 will be filed tomorrow with the Education Secretary of India (Ex-officio Chairman of Sanawar School BOG) to know about his acquaintance and decision on this matter.
Mention also needs to be made here on a similar incident that went unrecorded and escaped the attention of the Press in the second week of April 2009 when two teachers of the school namely Dr Raghvendra Shukla (PGT Chemistry) and Mr Abhimanyu Sain (Language Teacher) had been unceremoniously sent packing for their alleged acts on awarding incorporeal punishment to students of junior classes. The former teacher allegedly attempted to molest a child of Class VII whereas the later allegedly injured one arm of a Class V student. Before the incident could escape to the world outside cocoon called Sanawar and gets questioned, the things were learnt to have been settled mutually within the corridors of Sanawar (as it usually happens there) and teachers were sent back. Two applications under Right to Information Act have already been submitted in this regard, one to the Government of Himachal Pradesh and another to Shri P.K. Roy, Under Secretary & CPIO in the Office of Prime Minister, New Delhi to find out whether Government (Central or State) takes cognizance of these matters and initiates any action against the heads of elite educational institutions where things get brushed under the carpet and guilty escape any action against them.
Kindly recall that the Central Information Commissionâ€™s decision in my case vide its Order No. CIC/OK/C/2007/00109, 237 & 463 dated 25/01/2008 where the Lawrence School, Sanawar had been declared a â€œPublic Authority under the RTI Actâ€ had been stayed by the Honâ€™ble High Court of Himachal Pradesh (CWP No. 288/2008) and till the time matter is sub-judice on the direct accountability of Sanawar to the public, media remains the only hope for the masses to know what actually happens (besides education) inside these illustrious schools.
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