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6 Aug 2017

3 yrs & never allowed to use school toilet

The locked toilets at Banshra Primary School on Saturday. Picture by Dwijodas Ghosh
Snehamoy Chakraborty, TT, Suri, Aug. 5: Sheikh Afridi of Class III said he had never been allowed to use the school toilet since his admission three years ago.
A Class I student of the institution - Banshra Primary School in Birbhum - was crushed to death by a dumper yesterday when he went out to relieve himself.
Afridi today said the three toilets of the co-ed school 30km from Santiniketan were always kept locked so that the students could not dirty them, an allegation made by many guardians after Rijauddin's death yesterday and denied by the headmaster.
The toilets are unlocked only when the headmaster and the school's four teachers use them, many students and guardians said.
Headmaster Sheikh Mashrul after being roughed up on Friday. (Dwijodas Ghosh)
"Usually, we cross the road and go to the paddy field to relieve ourselves as the toilets are always kept under lock-and-key. In case we have to defecate, we return home after informing the class teacher. Those of us who do not have a toilet at home go to the paddy field," said Afridi, 9.
When this correspondent visited Banshra village in Suri block this morning, the school was closed. Residents said they would not allow it to reopen till the probe into Rijauddin's death on the road in front of the school after being allegedly disallowed from using the toilet was completed. The district primary school council is conducting the probe.
Afridi was playing on the village road.
"I have a toilet at home. Once I had told my teacher that I know how to use a toilet, but I was not allowed to go to any of the school toilets," he said.
Amid the confusion in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, some guardians and officials of the primary school education council had said the toilets were meant for girl students. However, it emerged today that one of the toilets was for girls but they too were not allowed to use it. The signage on top of the toilets said all of them were for girls.
Mir Muskan Parvin, a Class III student, said she and her classmates had to go to the paddy field on the other side of the road to relieve themselves. "At times, we go in groups," she said.
Sheikh Sohrab, who runs a small kirana store near the school, said he had always seen girls and boys crossing the busy Suri-Sainthia Road to relieve themselves in the paddy field.
The headmaster of Banshra Primary School, Sheikh Mashrul, denied the allegation that students were not allowed to use the toilets.
"We never prevented any student from using the toilets. The allegation is false. Sometimes, the students go outside on their own to relieve themselves," said Mashrul, who was roughed up by some guardians yesterday after Rijauddin's death and was rescued by police.
Asked why students and guardians and even those not associated with the school were saying otherwise, the headmaster said: "I don't know, I can't explain."
The school, which has 80 students, hires a sweeper on contract.
Sources in the district primary education council said all the teachers had been asked to turn up at its office in Suri on Monday.
Raja Ghosh, the chairman of the district primary school education council, told The Telegraph: "No one will be spared if it is proved that the students were not allowed to use the toilets."
He added that the council was trying to reopen the school "as soon as possible".

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