Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 12:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show cause notice to the Odisha government as to why monetary relief of Rs 3 lakhs should be not paid to the next of kin of a seven year old girl, a student of class II of a government school in Puri district, who succumbed to her injuries at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, while undergoing treatment for the injuries she sustained at the school when a big almirah kept in the classroom fell on her on July 29, 2013.
Acting on a petition by young lawyer and human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das in the matter, the Commission has sought a reply within six weeks from the state government through the chief secretary while stating that the death of the girl had caused irreparable loss to her family for which the State must bear liability.
Das had sought the intervention of the apex rights body on August 5, 2013 seeking an independent inquiry into the incident in which Sony Pradhan, aged 7, a student of class-II of Uttarhana UGME School under Chandanpur police limits in Puri district, was severely injured when a big almirah kept in the classroom fell on her on July 29, 2013 ultimately leading to her death on August 2, 2013 at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. Das had demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased student.
An inquiry report by the SP, Puri into the incident sought by the NHRC stated that on July 29, 2013, while the friends of Sony Pradhan were playing inside the class room during recess, a rack of plywood fell on Sony Pradhan while students were playing behind it. At that time the class teacher was engaged in distribution of Mid-Day-Meal.
The report said after being informed abut the mishap, the parents of Sony Pradhan took her to the district headquarters hospital, Puri for treatment from where she was referred to SCB, Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where she succumbed to her injuries on August 2, 2013.
The post-mortem conducted by a team of doctors opined that the death was due to injury to small intestine caused by heavy blunt object, the report added.
The SP’s report had concluded that there was no negligence on the part of the school teachers.
After considering the material placed on record, the Commission has observed that the girl Sony Pradhan had suffered injuries in the classroom while she was under the care and custody of the Government school.