Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Handcuffed in school in the US

What do you say when a teenager is HANDCUFFED in a SCHOOL in the US for a crime she never committed?

The news that a school girl, Krittika Biswas, who happens to be the daughter of an Indian diplomat, was arrested, handcuffed and thrown in with criminals for a crime she never committed, has shocked India. (Her supposed crime was sending some obscene emails to her teachers). The fact that these actions have been taken in the United States of America is all the more shocking. For we all know that the United States shouts the loudest on human rights, and is the self appointed monitor of human rights records of other countries through its NGOs like Amnesty. But its own status surfaces through actions like these and leave a very bad taste in the mouth. For the leader has a different set of rules to judge others, and ignores the wrong doings in its own house. 

There are some very basic issues in this case, which are very disturbing:.
1. Should societies that pride themselves for being civilized resort to handcuffing school children, even if they have committed a crime?
2. Treat someone as a criminal even before the charges against the person are proven? What has happened to the justice system of the country?

3. Should a crime like sending some obscene emails warrant handcuffs?

4. While Krittika was held in custody she was not even allowed to use the bathroom and had to go in front of everyone. Which medieval society are we talking about?

5. Krittika has been quoted as saying that the arrest was based on nothing and even when the real culprit was found, neither the school nor the state apologized to her. What does this say of a school system, where young are supposed to be guided and nurtured, where the teachers set examples? Even if the girl had sent the obscene emails, the teachers and the school should provide a system where the child can be counseled. In India, the police is kept out of educational institutes, and can be called in only in case of physical violence or damage to property. Now, what is the role of the teachers? Are they there merely there to teach maths or physics? Does their role end there? What is the purpose of schools?

6. And this one takes the hamburger! Even after the charges were dropped against her by the district attorney, the school officials sent her to a suspension centre! Some gross negligence here -- adding insult to injury.

Krittika has sued New York city for $1.5 million. But I feel justice would be done only if the school principal and other concerned authorities are arrested and tried for gross negligence of duty and torturing of a child.

To read about the case in detail click here.

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