The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that five-year-old child Jayawardhan tumbled into a vat filled to the brim with hot sambar at the time of serving the mid-day meal in a primary school at Nalgonda in Telangana on 24.12.2016 and died with 80 per cent burns at Hyderabad’s Osmania Hospital that night. It has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks along with the steps taken by the State Government to avoid reccurrence of such tragic incidents in future.

The Commission has observed that the incident is all about the state of safety of young innocent children dropped in custody of government run schools by their parents. There is an urgent need at government level to sensitize the school teachers and the assisting staff to be vigilant and more careful while dealing with young children who require extra care and protection. There is a need to fix responsibility of teachers or the staff to control and manage the situation while the food is served to the children in the school. It has also observed that though, reportedly, the State Government has announced compensation for the death of the child, yet it can foresee similar incidents with very young children in other primary schools in the State. The incident calls for a review by the state education authorities to ensure that Kitchen and the Cooking Area are not accessible or near to the place where the children are made to wait. The systemic changes in infrastructure are to be initiated and necessary guidelines issued.

National Human Rights Commission

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