Ryan School murder case: CBI questions Class 11 student, no evidence against bus conductor

Demonstrators protest outside Ryan International School in Gurgaon as they demand action against the school. File photo: PTI

Demonstrators protest outside Ryan International School in Gurgaon as they demand action against the school. File photo: PTI

New Delhi: A Class 11 student who allegedly wanted the parent-teacher meeting and exams to be postponed has been apprehended in connection with the killing of a seven-year-old boy in Gurgaon’s Ryan International School, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Wednesday.

In a sensational twist to the case, the high school student, who is about 16 years old, was apprehended late last night for allegedly killing his junior inside the school, said a CBI spokesperson.

Pradyuman, a Class 2 student of the school, was found dead with his throat slit by a sharp-edged weapon on the morning of 8 September.

Officials in the agency said the crime was committed in just three to four minutes. The CBI has not found any evidence so far against bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who was the Gurgaon Police’s sole accused in the gruesome killing, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

The murder weapon, a knife, was found in the commode of the toilet where the killing allegedly took place, he said. It was the same knife seized by the Gurgaon Police.

According to the agency, the Class 11 student, believed to be weak in his studies, allegedly slit Pradyuman’s throat to get the school to declare a holiday in order to defer a scheduled parent-teacher meeting (PTM) and an examination.

The CBI spokesperson said the minor student was apprehended last night at 11.30 pm in accordance with the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. “His parents were kept in the loop and all measures in accordance with the JJ Act were complied with. He remains our prime suspect.”

He said the agency analysed CCTV footage, showing the movement of people in and out of the toilet, on the basis of which it narrowed the list of suspects. The agency has not found any evidence of sexual assault, he said.

The CBI was able to piece together elements of the crime by analysing CCTV footage, scientific and forensic examination, analysis of the crime scene and by questioning students, teachers and staff of the school.

Based on CCTV footage and crime scene analysis, the agency examined all potential suspects and witnesses. The list included 125 teachers and students, officials said.

Ryan Pinto, owner of the Ryan International School chain, is yet to be questioned in the case. “The probe is still on. The first task was to identify the killer. It was a tough case. By the time the case was given to us, many persons were allowed to use the bathroom. We are questioning the teenager only between 10am to 5pm as per JJ Act provisions,” said an official.

The mobile records of all the suspects were scrutinised and examined by the CBI’s special crime team. Although the Class 11 student had planned a killing on 8 September, the “child in conflict with law” had not identified his target, Dayal said. It was a coincidence that Pradyuman reached the toilet and became a victim of senior student’s ghastly plan, officials added.

The father of the high school student told a television channel that his son was innocent and they had been cooperating with the police from day one. “My son didn’t do anything. He informed the gardener and teachers after finding Pradyuman’s body. He stayed in the school the entire day, and appeared for the exam. There was not even a single spot of blood on my son’s clothes,” the father said, his face pixellated to avoid identification.

Giving details, he said Tuesday was the fourth time they were called. “I reached there around 11am… I left from there at 2am and CCTV footage can be seen for that,” he said.

The CBI’s findings will be a major embarrassment for the Gurgaon Police, which had blamed Ashok Kumar and alleged that he was waiting in the toilet with a knife. The police had formed 14 SIT teams.

Kumar, a resident of Ghamdoj village in Sohna, was hired by a school bus contractor around seven months before the killing. Villagers in Ghamdoj had said Kumar had been framed and he had no previous history of being involved in any crime. “Now that they have arrested this student, it is proof that the doubt we had about the police investigation was right,” Pradyuman’s father Varun Thakur told the media.

[“Source-livemint”]

Student body demands refund of Gauhati University’s entrance exam fee

This year’s entrance examinations for various postgraduate courses in Gauhati University, to be held from July 20, were postponed.

Guwahati: A students’ body on Saturday asked the Gauhati University (GU) authorities to refund fees and other expenses of candidates who were to give the entrance examinations which were postponed indefinitely after a meeting of the institute’s admission committee on July 17.

This year’s exams for various postgraduate courses in GU were to be held from July 20. These were put on hold after the Gauhati High Court on July 15 stayed the test on the basis of a petition by some graduates.

The court, however, allowed the university to go ahead with admissions through the existing mode on merit basis.

The admissions were scheduled for July 28 and 29, and classes were to have begun from August 1.

“Some 50% of more than 20,000 students from across Assam had applied for the PG courses. The university has had a history of botching up admission tests and should have taken adequate measures when the court gave a ruling on a complaint by only four students,” Kashyap Choudhury, president of the Assam state committee of Students’ Federation of India (SFI), said.

The SFI asked the university to refund the candidates and compensate them for their disappointment as they could not study in the university of their choice.

GU officials declined to comment as the “court was involved,”but said counselling for admission to BTech courses had begun. These courses include biotechnology, computer science and engineering, electronics and communication and engineering and information technology.

On the entrance tests being put on hold, a lawyer of the petitioner explained: “GU had decided to hold the entrance test via a recent notice without amending its previous ordinance in which it had said that admission to PG courses would be done on the basis of merit of the candidates in their respective graduation results. The entire process was violating the existing ordinance.”

 

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]

Lights off, coffee: How IIT Kharagpur aims to tackle student depression

IIT

 

Every now and then, one of India’s most prestigious engineering colleges cuts off power to its hostels for an hour in the evening.

The practice, at IIT Kharagpur, is not to save electricity or cut costs. It is instead part of efforts to get students to mingle — contact that officials hope will help cut stress after three of its students killed themselves between January and April this year.

IIT Kharagpur is part of the country’s marquee Indian Institutes of Technology colleges that lakhs vie for each year. Only a few thousands make it, entering a college of intense competition with some of the best minds to vie for top jobs at the end of their four-year course.

“Students are meeting increasingly less. This naturally creates a lot of problems as they end up being alone. This small step will help them connect when they take a 10-minute coffee or tea break,” said Manish Bhattacharya, dean of students affairs of IIT Kharagpur, while explaining another effort to draw students out by installing vending machines for free tea and coffee.

The machines, for which a Japanese company has been roped in, will be in place from the academic year beginning this summer.

The blackout hours are helping, students say. “It was like an outreach programme where the administration wanted to speak to us… tell us what had happened and how it was important to be connected with fellow students. Many came out of compulsion but realised that it helped. Students interacted with each other, even discussing the suicides that had been troubling for many of us,” said Anisha Sharma, a student.

The latest suicide was on April 8, when a fourth-year student was found hanging in his hostel room.

Other efforts include a programme for parents with psychiatric professionals, courses on happiness mental well-being, and reaching out to alumni who faced depression during their college days.

Depression is seen as among the main reasons and students say the institute lacks adequate number of counsellors.

Mental health professionals on campus reported depression, adjustment disorders and, in some cases, personality disorders as among the cases they often come across.

“The first thing that parents ask us when they come to drop their children to the institute is about placements and package. They need to stop this. It puts unnecessary pressure on the students. This is the reason we have decided to have an orientation programme with the parents too,” said PP Chakrabarti, IIT Kharagpur’s director.

Officials said they will also turn a microcredit elective on “the science of happiness well-being” into a 3-credit course for all students from the next academic year.

“We are evolving more courses so students will be able to go for micro-specialisation in science and happiness. The subjects that they take up include depression, grief, so these projects that they take up to engineer happiness are meaningful,” said Prof P Patnaik, IIT Kharagpur.

The courses are run by the institute’s Rekhi Centre of Excellence for the Science of Happiness.

IIT Kharagpur has also decided to collaborate with an agency to identify the strength of students instead of their weaknesses, as is the case with current evaluation systems.

Officials are in touch with alumni for campaigns that will prod students to open up.

“Some of the alumni have approached us and they will share their experiences by recording it and circulating it on the website and Facebook page of the institute. There is a stigma attached with depression and this will address that,” the spokesperson said.

 

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]

Doctoral Student in Religion Delves into Printmaking for Insights on Suffering

Stephanie Gehring Ladd and one of her prints

Stephanie Gehring Ladd, a doctoral student in Religion at Duke’s Graduate School, received a grant to take a printmaking course at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and to spend time in a Durham printmaking studio. Her aim was to gain insight into the process of intaglio printmaking in order to enhance her observational powers in writing about prints and inform her dissertation on attention to suffering in the work of Simone Weil and Käthe Kollwitz.

Ladd was among 19 graduate students from five schools at Duke who received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants in 2016 for training beyond their core disciplines. Her faculty mentor was Paul J. Griffiths. She shared this update.

I took a printmaking course at UNC this fall, and Professor Brian Garner was fantastic to work with. He let me custom-tailor a course within his Introduction to Intaglio, so that I was able to focus on the intaglio printmaking techniques most used by the artist I am studying, Käthe Kollwitz. She mainly did copper etching, with a shading technique called aquatint, and I produced one small print (it’s a long process!) using copperplate etching and aquatint.

I learned an enormous amount about how her work was done—the main striking thing about etching is that it is a process that goes backwards, compared to drawing. In a drawing, you put down your lightest lines first, and then darken as you want to in the places where you’d prefer it to be darker. But in intaglio, once a piece of the plate is “open” (i.e., the protective ground is removed so that it can be etched, either by scratching or scraping or by washing off the ground), it is difficult to cover it back up in a precise way. This means that the first lines one puts in end up being the ones that get etched over and over in each round; therefore, they are the darkest. So instead of the first lines ending up being the lightest lines, the first ones are the darkest.

While intaglio prints can look a great deal like pen and ink drawings, they require enormously more planning in order to execute. The “fresh from the artist’s pen” look that they can have is, therefore, quite deceptive. It’s been a great gift having the GSTEG grant.

This internal funding mechanism from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies encourages graduate students to step away from their core research and training to acquire additional skills, knowledge or co-curricular experiences that will give them new perspectives on their research agendas. Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants are intended to deepen preparation for academic positions and other career trajectories.

Read about other 2016-2017 recipients’ experiences:

  • Nanotechnology at Los Alamos
  • Christian Engagement with Architecture
  • Singapore’s Urbanization
  • Brazilian Governance
  • Capitalism, Slavery and Freedom

Image: Copper intaglio print by Stephanie Gehring Ladd; Stephanie with her baby

[“Source-ndtv”]