Girl rushed to KEM hospital after forced to do 500 sit-ups by Kolhapur school principal

Updated: Dec 16, 2017, 19:01 IST | Santosh Wagh and Sailee Dhayalkar

A 13-year-old girl who was asked to do 500 sit-ups, she managed 300 and then collapsed, in a Kolhapur school, was rushed to KEM hospital after she fell seriously ill

A 13-year-old girl who was asked to do 500 sit-ups in a Kolhapur school, was yesterday rushed to KEM hospital after she fell seriously ill. Three weeks after the brutal punishment, the teenager is still not able to walk properly. Meanwhile, the school principal responsible for the abuse was granted bail within hours of being arrested.

Vijaya Chaugale cannot walk properly ever since her ordeal. Pic/Ashish Raje
Vijaya Chaugale cannot walk properly ever since her ordeal. Pic/Ashish Raje

The Std VIII student, Vijaya Chaugale, is no longer able to walk without support because of the tremors in her right leg ever since the cruel 'punishment' she was given. Upon arriving in Mumbai, she told this paper, "I had forgotten my project at home. The principal asked me to do 500 sit-ups, and I managed 300. After that, all I remember that I fell down and was taken to hospital."

Vijaya Chaugale cannot walk without support because of the cruel punishment
Vijaya Chaugale cannot walk without support because of the cruel punishment

The horrific incident took place at Bhavesuri Sandesh Vidhyalaya, in Kanur village, Chandgad taluka. On November 24, Vijaya was supposed to submit a project in class. Since the teacher was absent that day, the school principal Ashwini Devan began checking the students' assignments.

Principal Ashwini Devan
Principal Ashwini Devan

Six students, including Vijaya, did not submit the project. Principal Devan told them to do 500 sit-ups. Few students gave up after 50 squats, some even managed 100. But Vijaya went on to do 300 sit-ups, before she collapsed on the ground. Her father, Ramesh Chaugale, is a peon at the same school, and Vijaya's friends rushed to inform him of her condition.

Ramesh recalled, "Some girls from Vijaya's class told me that she had collapsed. I rushed her to the nearest private hospital. During the eight days she was admitted there, my wife kept telling me to complain to the police." "It was difficult to go against the school, because I am a peon there. But my wife asked me who is more important, the job or our daughter? Finally, my wife went to the police station herself, but the cops only filed a non-cognisable offence. This is wrong, and the principal should be punished," Ramesh added.

In great pain
Meanwhile, Vijaya's condition was no better. Not only is her right leg unable to support her, but it keeps twitching and jerking involuntarily, even when she's seated or lying down. Her father said, "Despite treatment, she has not recovered and is in a lot of pain. We hope she will get better and be able to walk properly soon." It took the family 10 hours to make the journey from their village to KEM hospital, and they had to change ambulances six times. The ambulance expenses, and the medical fees, are being paid by the family's friends and relatives for now.

Cop speak
Since the police did not take their complaint seriously earlier, the parents visited DIG Vishwas Nangare-Patil, after which an FIR was filed at Chandgad police station. Speaking to mid-day, Ashok Pawar, senior inspector at Chandgad police station, said, "After we learnt that the girl's condition had become serious, we filed a complaint and arrested the principal. The girl seems to have been traumatised by the incident." The principal was granted bail the same day.

The other side
Principal Devan told mid-day, "It was the last day to submit the Hindi project. Since they had not completed the project, I may have told the students to do sit-ups, but I did not ask them to do 500. Vijaya was unwell before the incident; when she fell, I called her father."

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