South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Published in The Daily Star ::

Were the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of Bristi Das to become a lawyer, a doctor, or a politician? Perhaps even to nudge Sheikh Hasina from her lofty seat one day and become Prime Minister?

Unfortunately  we will never know what went on in that young developing mind of hers or what greatness this cheerful 12-year-old Class 5 student might have achieved or what worthwhile contribution to Bangladesh she might have made, if she had survived the alleged horrific beatings of a criminal ‘teacher’ that ultimately led to her death.

Bristi’s young life came to a sad close 13-days after an alleged cruel beating by her private tutor in Boalkhali upazila of Chittagong. Her crime? – Apparently, failing to answer some questions correctly.

The tutor was an assistant teacher of Paschim Kodurkhil Koibortolpara Government Primary School Bristi attended. A murder case has been filed against him.

Death is such a severe and inappropriate punishment for a child’s fleeting forgetfulness, but while corporal punishment is allowed to continue unabated in schools throughout Bangladesh, the horrific health risks to children is omnipresent.

One can only wonder which young boy or girl is going to be next. Will it be your child… a relative… a neighbour? Only the Almighty knows, but one thing’s for certain it will happen again, as long as the evildoers of corporal punishment are not stopped.

No one questions how difficult it is to raise children. The majority of children will drive you up the wall and most want to see how high you will go (!) but that’s no reason for beating them.