Pune: Teenager drowns while at camp, family blames school for negligence
Pune: The family of a 16-year-old boy who drowned during a karate camp in Kolhapur last week has levelled charges of negligence against the authorities of the school where it was organised. It has also claimed that some organs and the boy’s eyes were missing, and alleged that the hospital took them.
Omkar Nawale had returned home to Pune after giving his SSC exam at Kolhapur, but he went back for a karate camp
On April 30, Omkar Vikas Nawale, a resident of Sanghvi in Pune, drowned in the Kode dam in Kolhapur, around 60 km from a karate camp organised on the premises of his alma mater, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vidyaniketan’s
Disha English Medium School, in Hatkanangale taluka. Omkar had joined the camp soon after the SSC examinations.
Omkar’s father, Vikas, an ambulance driver at a private hospital at Pune, said, “My son was a bright student and wanted to join the defence forces. He had stayed in a hostel from Std VI-X. After his SSC examinations, he stayed with us. On April 18, he received a call and his karate coach, Nilesh Lambe, told him about a karate camp on the school campus for three days, and an adventure tour after that. Accordingly, on April 24, he went to Kolhapur and assured us that he would be back on May 1. On the evening of April 30, we received a call that Omkar had drowned and was in hospital. We rushed to Kolhapur and for two hours, no one at the hospital told us about his condition. Finally, an ambulance driver told us about his death.”
Around 9 pm, the family was called for an identification by the police. “At that time, all body parts were intact. An hour later, we got the body and reached Pune at 2 am. While performing the last rituals, we noticed cotton in his eyes and when we were bathing the body, we noticed several stitches, especially near the abdomen and chest. We smelled a rat. The teacher had told us that he had drowned. My son was 5ft 5in tall and the water was 3 ft deep. He could not have drowned. The karate coach claimed that my son’s leg had got trapped, but there were no marks on his leg. We approached the Pune police, but as the incident took place in Kolhapur, they told us that the case had to registered there,” said Vikas.
Omkar’s uncle, Jayesh Gade, said, “The school is responsible for what happened. Why was there cotton in his eyes? The hospital has taken some organs and the eyes.”
Omkar’s school principal Rajendra Mane clarified that the school had only hosted the camp. “It had been organised by the Kolhapur Karate Association’s coach. We had just rented out our premises and two rooms from April 25-29. We had informed the camp organisers that they would be responsible for any untoward incident. In fact, we approached the hospital after getting to know of the drowning and had alerted the police.”
Karate coach Nilesh Lambe said, “It’s my fault. More than 30 students had participated in the karate camp for three days, which concluded on April 29. On April 30, some students insisted on a tour to the Kode dam. Accordingly, around 11 am, we reached the dam. I, along with 15 students, went for a swim. Omkar knew swimming. An hour later, we headed back to camp and from there we were to go home. During the head count, I noticed one boy missing and after an hour’s search, we jumped into the water and found Omkar’s body trapped in the roots of some trees.
The dean of Rajarshree Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Government Medical college in Kolhapur, where the body was taken, Jaiprakash Ramanand, only said, “I need to check the details and will not be able to comment on the issue.” He did not respond to repeated text messages and calls after this.
Inspector Shrikant More of Gaganbavada police station in Kolhapur said, “At present, we have filed a case of accidental death and are probing the case. It’s impossible that the organs are missing. His parents had no
grievance nor spoke to us about his eyes and organs. The eyes were there when we carried out the panchanama. His post-mortem examination report mentions that he died as he was unable to breathe and it’s a case of drowning. His parents must approach us if they are complaining about missing body parts.”