A 12-year-old boy was killed in Dehradun, allegedly by two of his school seniors, in his hostel, with such brutality that it has left parents shaken about their children.
The details of the case are so horrifying that it would make your stomach churn. According to a report published by the ThePrint, the Class 7 victim was tied around a pipe and beaten with stumps reportedly by his seniors. He was stripped, drenched in cold water, his mouth was stuffed with Kurkure and biscuits — shoved down his throat with a bucket full of water taken from the toilet.
Nowhere to run: Where should a small child go if picked on by school seniors? (Source: Reuters)
The two students who have been named as the main accused are just 19. They have been arrested, along with some school staff.
The two older students were apparently angry with the younger boy because the school had reportedly suspended their planned Sunday outing as a mass punishment for something which the 12-year-old is said to have done.
The report is based on the statements of the main accused, post-mortem reports and eyewitness accounts.
The report says, “The duo said they went to the minor’s room armed with stumps and a bat and beat him. Then they dragged him to the basketball court and made him take rounds till he was exhausted. “The duo made him take several rounds of the court till he was exhausted. They thrashed him with the bat on his shins if he stopped,” an investigating officer said apparently on condition of anonymity. “Then they dragged him to the terrace of the hostel and asked him to wrap his legs and arms around a pipe,” he said.
“Scared, the minor followed the directions. When he wrapped himself around the pipe, the duo thrashed him, concentrating the blows on his lower body — hip, thighs, bottom of his feet and shins.”
It is scary to believe that anyone can do this to a small child.
It is scarier to believe that those doing this are themselves young teens.
But, despite the horrifying details, we must understand the larger context in which we are seeing our children resorting to such extreme brutality.
In 2017, India was shaken when the news of a Class 2 child reportedly being killed by his own senior hit the headlines. Eight-year-old Pradyumn Thakur was found with his throat slit outside a school toilet on September 8, in a case that shook the country. A 16-year-old school senior, who, the CBI said, was struggling with his studies, allegedly killed Pradyuman to get the school to declare a holiday, so that a parent-teacher meeting and an exam could be put off.
Earlier, a 4-year-old child was said to have sexually abused his classmate.
In a case that shook India, a school child's body was found with his throat slit, in his own school. (Source: Twitter)
The use of violence by children should worry us all — because it reflects a complete breakdown of a societal system in which the young live in peace and realise their true potential. Instead, children today are inventing ideas of violence — and they are picking it up from around us. An unhindered access to the internet has ensured a deluge of information — both meaningful and destructive.
With traditional family systems breaking down, children are left to figure out the meaning of a lot of what they see, entirely on their own.
Evening play time has shrunk, with kids staying indoors spending time with their gadgets, most of which are often exposing them to graphic violence.
With no sporting culture, and a humongous pressure of academic performance, we have no time to sit back and ask our children just how they feel about what they see. It is left for the children to differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly.
And often, under considerable strain already, they fail that particularly vital test.
One can often hear parents say that the burden of studies on kids has increased — and yet, we choose to do nothing about ensuring that studies are not a burden. We know we are stressing our kids out. But we are also apparently okay with that.
How many parents would tell their kids that it is okay if they fail an exam?
We are more focused on teaching our kids the grounds on which we can declare them worthless — rather than tell them why they are precious.
A child who is unable to cope with such intense pressures — remember, these are children — faces the frustration of being completely powerless. Nobody wants to feel powerless. Not even a child. That is why the child then tries to overpower those weaker, more vulnerable, even more voiceless than them.
A cancelled Sunday outing is not what can drive a young boy to murder.
Frustration with life can.
We are building for our children a world that frustrates them because we want them to be the best at everything, without giving them the most basic thing that is needed to help them achieve anything — love.
It is time we stopped burdening our kids with the pressure to excel, the pressure to race, the pressures to compete, the pressure to shine. We need to teach ourselves the art of loving children for just being who they are, not for what they achieve. Or fail, trying to.