Mumbai Crime: Principal hits student; his son offers bribe to avoid FIR

Updated: Feb 29, 2020, 07:37 IST | Shirish Vaktania, Diwakar Sharma |

Principal James Thomas Peechaatt tells mid-day his 'intention was to teach the boy' and that 'it is the perfect punishment'

Bruises seen on the boy's back
Bruises seen on the boy's back

After the principal of the Holy Cross Military High School, James Thomas Peechaatt, badly thrashed an 11-year-old boy for speaking Hindi, the principal's son, Williamson, tried to pay off the boy's father by offering to bear the cost of the child's education till Std X. The principal, on the other hand, told mid-day that "this is the perfect punishment for students".

The severe corporal punishment on Wednesday gave the boy a broken tooth and several bruises. When the boy's father approached the Navghar police to file an FIR against the Bhayandar-based school on Thursday, Williamson intervened with the 'bribe'. mid-day has a copy of the letter bearing the school's stamp and Williamson's signature.

"I, Williamson Peechaatt, would hereby acknowledge that Ankit (name changed) will be taken care fully and his fees till Std X will be paid by the school.

Thank You." (sic).

Holy Cross Military High School's principal, James Thomas Peechaatt
Holy Cross Military High School's principal, James Thomas Peechaatt

Principal Peechaatt told mid-day that he had no ill intentions. "It is for his future. He should speak in English when in school. This is the right age to learn. My intention was to teach him. I didn't slap him. I have been teaching grammar for the past 40 years and believe that this is the perfect punishment for students," Peechaatt said.

"Besides my son, four others including a girl, were given corporal punishment by James Thomas Peechaatt. I approached the police but his son Williamson came and requested me to not file a case. He fell at my feet and later gave me a letter saying that my son's school fees up to Std X will be paid by the Holy Cross Military High School. I don't know what to do," the father told mid-day.

"The matter has been settled. It is between the school and parents of the child. Why do you want to fan it now?" Williamson told mid-day.

Vijay Doiphode, member of the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, "The police generally inform us after registering an FIR in a child abuse case.

However, the school offering to bear the fees to avoid police case amounts to bribery. In this case, the parents and the school authority should be booked by the police. The parents must have been pressured to accept the offer."

Senior Inspector Prakash Birajdar of Navghar police said, "We took the father's complaint, did the boy's medical check-up and began the FIR process but the parents backed out. We don't have any knowledge of the school's bribe through the letter."

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