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Gender Dalit Bahujan Adivasi

Delta Meghwal’s Death: Role of Warden and Others Suspicious

06 Apr 2016

 

The gruesome death of Delta Meghwal, a talented 17 year old studying to become a teacher, on March 29, 2016, at the hostel of the Jain Adarsh Teacher Training Institute for Girls at Nokha in Barmer, Rajasthan is not a suicide and a gross collusion between the woman warden, institution head and others holding responsible positions cannot be ruled out. A Rajasthan based Fact Finding Team of the National Human Rights Organisation (NHRO) conducted a preliminary investigation and has released its report. This can be read here.

The delay in reporting the discovery of Delta’s body at 7 a.m. on March 29 for several hours and the removal of the body without videography or panchnama further raises serious questions about possible attempts to destroy evidence and create a narrative that is aimed at concealing the truth. Parents of Delta were also not kept informed by the authorities. A high level independent investigation, that too by CBI, is required to arrive at the truth. These are the key conclusions of the fact finding team’s report.

Further, the concealment of an incident the day before on March 28, 2016 by the warden, Priya Shukla has made matters much worse. If she had dealt with the incident of the day before seriously, Delta’s life may have been saved. The fact that a male PT teacher was given accommodation within a girls hostel also raises serious questions for the institutional heads and all the authorities.

Sabrangindia had reported on what women’s campaign groups have called a rape and murder of a Dalit student allegedly by the PT Teacker, Vrijendra Singh. Though Singh has been arrested, the chairman of the institute, Eashwar Chand Ved, has over the past week, been absconding.On March 29, 2016  the dead body of Delta Meghwal, a 17 year old Dalit girl from a village in Barmer district of Rajasthan was found in the water tank of the Jain Adarsh Teacher Training Institute for girls in Nokha, Bikaner where she was studying. The police took her body in a municipal garbage carrying vehicle (tractor) without videographing it.

According to the FIR filed by her parents, there were only four girls at the hostel as all the other girls had gone home and had not returned by then. A day before, on the evening of March 28, at 8 pm, she had called her father and told him that their Warden Priya Shukla had sent her to the PT Instructor Vijendra Singh's room, with the excuse of cleaning the hostel (this shows the clear collusion of the warden in the case). The Complaint of the parents can be read here.

Brief Report of the Factfinding Team

Jain Adarsh teacher training institute for girls in Nokha, Bikaner (Rajasthan).

Delta Meghwal was the resident of Barmer Garda Road, Barmer

The Team met family members of Delta Meghwal, community members from the Village, teachers and school administration, and the local police

Obsevations

On March 29, 2016 when news of her death came, the body of Delta Meghwal was found in a terrible condition, drowned in a water tank behind the girl’s hostel.

Police officials of the Nokha police station removed the body (without recording the condition through videography nor recording a panchnama). The garbage carrying vehicle of the Nagar Nigham used to take out garbage was used to take the body to the local hospital for the post mortem. Family members of Delta have submitted a Complaint to the police that states that the PT teacher Vijendra Singh had first raped, then killed her and thereafter discarded the body in the water tank. Thereafter the story of the suicide was concocted in a bid to mislead the administration.

According to the Complaint filed by her parents, there were only four girls at the hostel as all the other girls had gone home and had not returned by then. A day before, on the evening of March 28, at 8 pm, Delta had called her father and told him that their Warden Priya Shukla had sent her to the PT Instructor Vijendra Singh's room, with the excuse of cleaning the hostel (this shows the clear collusion of the warden in the case, says the report).

The Fact-Finding was conducted on April 1, 2016. Members of the team included Ansar Indori, Dr Kalpana Begu, Mehiboob Ali Chittod and Abdul Naim Kota reached Nokha. Jugal Hatila a local activist also joined the team.

The Team visited the Police Station at Nokha and spoke to Investigating Officer (IO) Satnam Singh, Additional SP and other officers Prakishu Puja Yadav, IPS, though they were initially made to wait a long time.

IO Satnam Singh
The IO Satnam Singh gave his version which is as follows:
One of the staff/ workers of the Jain Adarsh Vidyala had informed the police that a student had committed suicide by jumping into a water tank on March 29. About 1 p.m. that afternoon, two police officials, one Kanhailal and Sandeep Lalit were sent to spot; the body was retrieved and sent to the mortuary of the local hospital for the post mortem. The IO also said that the PM report became available on March 31. The body had signs of injuries; there was no sign of water in the lungs.  Explaining this phenomenon, the IO said that often when those who drown have blockages in their food pipe due to which water does not get into the body!!! (Delta’s body was found several hours after she was found missing !)

The IO further said, “We have arrested PT teacher Vijendra Singh. He would be produced on April 1, 23016. Apart from sections 376(3)  of the IPC, sections of the Atrocities Act and POSCO Act have been applied to him. Only after the FSL report arrives a decision on applying Section 302 (murder) will be taken. “

The IO added, “The chairman of the institute, Eashwar Chand Ved is absconding. From others we have found that on the night of March 28, 2016, very late, 2 a.m. or so, the girl was found in the PT Teacher’s room. Both had admitted their ‘mistake’ and written an ‘apology.’ The IO also said  that knowledge of a relationship between the PT teacher and the girl had been coming to light for the past 2-3 months. The IO said that we are trying to get details of this from the mobile phones. The written report from the father of the girl was received by March 30. It is on the basis of that report that we have filed an FIR.”

(The Fact Finding Team has noted: The incident took place on March 29, 2016. Even after 24 hours the Police had not, by itself registered any FIR. In this amount of time, evidence can be destroyed; or those involved in the crime can abscond; a fake account can even be manufactured)

Following this, the Team reached the College where the BED college principle, Dr Rajendra Srimali met them in his office. 



Rajendra Srimali, Principal:
“Four different units run in within institution that include a CBSE secondary school, a degree college, a BSTC College and a BED College. In the past five months, I have also been given charge of the BSTC college.

“Delta Meghwal, is a a student from Garad Road, Barmer, daughter of Mahendra Ram Meghwal. Vijendra Singh, joined as PT teacher four months ago. Vijendra Singh was known to  Priya Shukla (the warden) and her husband, PP Shukla.  The couple recommended him.
Apart from a girls hostel, the premises also have some staff quarters. A little farther from the staff quarters are some other rooms in which Vijendra Singh was staying. He is married but his wife had not joined him.”
The principal also said that he got to know of the incident of the dead body of a student being found only on the afternoon of March 29, 2016. By this date, only four students had returned to the girls hostel after the Holi vacation. Priya Shukla is the warden of the hostel.
“It is the Warden only who could give all the details of what happened on March 28 and 29.”

Priya Shukla, Hostel of the Girls Hostel
Then Priya Shukla was called to Principal Srimali’s room.
Without the team even asking a question Priya Shukla began her account:
“I officially do not hold the post of Hostel Warden. But the administration had given me this responsibility as I stayed in the staff quarters. On March 28, around 12 noon I was informed that a girl named Delta was not in the hostel. At the time only four students had returned to the girls hostel after the Holi vacation.

“It was Leela Madam, holding the post of Nurse and staying with the students in the girls hostel, who phoned me and informed me of the girl’s absence. All of us began hunting for the girl since it was late at night and I even called my husband, PP Shukla to join the search.
“ I also called Vijendra Singh on the phone to help in the search. When he did not come out of his room for a long time, I knocked on his door which he opened after quite some time. He was told to help in the search for Delta who is missing. When Vijendra Singh tried to shut the door of his room, I got suspicious and went inside the room and put the light on. Delta was present there.

“When questioned, the PT teacher said ‘Delta had asked for awlas (berries) and come to get them’. It was 1.30 a.m. Both Delta and Vijendra accepted their ‘wrongdoing” and promised not to make such mistakes in future. Both were asked to write ‘maafi naaamas' (apologies)."

This incident was obviously attempted to be buried and no efforts made by the Warden to speak to Delta Meghwal on her own the whole of the next day after this incident.

Priya Shukla continued,
“On March 29, 2016 at about 7 am, again, it was Leela Madam who said to me that Delta was missing from the student’s hostel. The hunt for her began. At about 11 a.m. the chowkidar (guard) said that Delta's body is lying in the water tank. Then he informed the chairman Easwar Chand Ved, who called the police who removed the body from the tank.

Hanuman the chowkidar did not meet the team and his account therefore could not be recorded.

The team also met one Ghansiram Meghwal who does the work of masonry within the institute. He said about a fortnight earlier, the chairman, Easwar Chand Ved had told him that the tank near the girls hostel was leaking due to which water was seeping out; and asked him to repair it. He said he had not yet repaired it. Delta Meghwal’s body was found here.

The team also met with the Principal of the Nokha Government  Upper Primary School (Rajkiya Uccha Prathamik Vidyalaya Pradhan Adhyapak), Suresh Hathila. He recounted his assessment of Delta Meghwal.
Suresh Hathila said that Delta was a serious student and an extremely mature girl. Her BST Lesson Plans had been given in his school. Her way of teaching was creative and impressive. She worked very hard to prepare her lesson plans. She was very interested and good at art. She had got recognition from the chief minister of the state for this. How can such a student commit suicide? It is a very unfortunate incident, a tragedy; because of which Dalit students, especially girl students will feel very insecure. We demand that those guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment, he said.

Findings:
  1. If after the March 28 2016 incident Priya Shukla, her husband and other staff members  had --- instead of shrouding it in secrecy (and only believing the PT Teacher Vijendra Singh’s version) immediately informed responsible persons from institution and the police then Delta could have been saved from death
  2. The allocation of a room for a male PT Teacher within a Girls Hostel is a grave act of irresponsibility on the part of the administration and management
  3. On March 29 2016 at about 7 a.m. when Delta’s absence was intimated to Priya Shukla for the second time, her duties as a Hostel Warden required that she should have immediately informed responsible authorities of the institution, including the Principal. Her not doing so raises serious questions and raises grave suspicion(s).
  4. The water tank in which Delta was found dead has a depth of six feet. Significantly, the tank is fully covered; only a 1.5 foot X 1.5 foot hole exists which has a lid on top.  The lid has a hole for a lock and an old lock was seen by the team on the lid. But it was not locked. Why? Not locking the tank is an act of grave responsibility on the part of the Warden, Principal and Chairman of the institution.
  5. From the size of the opening on the tank, it is highly unlikely that a healthy young woman of 5 foot four could have entered inside at all.
  6. The fact that the police did not record the recovery of the body through videography deepens suspicions. Neither was a panchnama of the body performed.
  7. After the body was removed, press reporter Pavan Kumar himself took photos of the body. There were injuries on the body and blood was oozing out of one year. Bleeding from the ear in a death supposedly caused by drowning does not add up and further raises questions and suspicions.
  8. Delta is from a poor Dalit family who has no political backing and support. There is every chance that the authorities and chairman of the Jain Adarsh Vidyalaya will use clout and other means to ensure that the case does not read fruition and justice is not delivered.
From these preliminary findings, NCHRO reaches the conclusion that Delta Meghwal has not committed suicide.
Her death has been caused by serious circumstances that require a high level independent investigation.  
The NHRO also demands that the CBI should be brought in to enable the truth to emerge
NCHRO believes that young girls and women living in the Hostels of Educational Institutions are in danger if those guilty in this case are not given exemplary and prompt punishment in this case. The dignity of women and girls will not be safeguarded.

Delta Meghwal’s Death: Role of Warden and Others Suspicious

 

The gruesome death of Delta Meghwal, a talented 17 year old studying to become a teacher, on March 29, 2016, at the hostel of the Jain Adarsh Teacher Training Institute for Girls at Nokha in Barmer, Rajasthan is not a suicide and a gross collusion between the woman warden, institution head and others holding responsible positions cannot be ruled out. A Rajasthan based Fact Finding Team of the National Human Rights Organisation (NHRO) conducted a preliminary investigation and has released its report. This can be read here.

The delay in reporting the discovery of Delta’s body at 7 a.m. on March 29 for several hours and the removal of the body without videography or panchnama further raises serious questions about possible attempts to destroy evidence and create a narrative that is aimed at concealing the truth. Parents of Delta were also not kept informed by the authorities. A high level independent investigation, that too by CBI, is required to arrive at the truth. These are the key conclusions of the fact finding team’s report.

Further, the concealment of an incident the day before on March 28, 2016 by the warden, Priya Shukla has made matters much worse. If she had dealt with the incident of the day before seriously, Delta’s life may have been saved. The fact that a male PT teacher was given accommodation within a girls hostel also raises serious questions for the institutional heads and all the authorities.

Sabrangindia had reported on what women’s campaign groups have called a rape and murder of a Dalit student allegedly by the PT Teacker, Vrijendra Singh. Though Singh has been arrested, the chairman of the institute, Eashwar Chand Ved, has over the past week, been absconding.On March 29, 2016  the dead body of Delta Meghwal, a 17 year old Dalit girl from a village in Barmer district of Rajasthan was found in the water tank of the Jain Adarsh Teacher Training Institute for girls in Nokha, Bikaner where she was studying. The police took her body in a municipal garbage carrying vehicle (tractor) without videographing it.

According to the FIR filed by her parents, there were only four girls at the hostel as all the other girls had gone home and had not returned by then. A day before, on the evening of March 28, at 8 pm, she had called her father and told him that their Warden Priya Shukla had sent her to the PT Instructor Vijendra Singh's room, with the excuse of cleaning the hostel (this shows the clear collusion of the warden in the case). The Complaint of the parents can be read here.

Brief Report of the Factfinding Team

Jain Adarsh teacher training institute for girls in Nokha, Bikaner (Rajasthan).

Delta Meghwal was the resident of Barmer Garda Road, Barmer

The Team met family members of Delta Meghwal, community members from the Village, teachers and school administration, and the local police

Obsevations

On March 29, 2016 when news of her death came, the body of Delta Meghwal was found in a terrible condition, drowned in a water tank behind the girl’s hostel.

Police officials of the Nokha police station removed the body (without recording the condition through videography nor recording a panchnama). The garbage carrying vehicle of the Nagar Nigham used to take out garbage was used to take the body to the local hospital for the post mortem. Family members of Delta have submitted a Complaint to the police that states that the PT teacher Vijendra Singh had first raped, then killed her and thereafter discarded the body in the water tank. Thereafter the story of the suicide was concocted in a bid to mislead the administration.

According to the Complaint filed by her parents, there were only four girls at the hostel as all the other girls had gone home and had not returned by then. A day before, on the evening of March 28, at 8 pm, Delta had called her father and told him that their Warden Priya Shukla had sent her to the PT Instructor Vijendra Singh's room, with the excuse of cleaning the hostel (this shows the clear collusion of the warden in the case, says the report).

The Fact-Finding was conducted on April 1, 2016. Members of the team included Ansar Indori, Dr Kalpana Begu, Mehiboob Ali Chittod and Abdul Naim Kota reached Nokha. Jugal Hatila a local activist also joined the team.

The Team visited the Police Station at Nokha and spoke to Investigating Officer (IO) Satnam Singh, Additional SP and other officers Prakishu Puja Yadav, IPS, though they were initially made to wait a long time.

IO Satnam Singh
The IO Satnam Singh gave his version which is as follows:
One of the staff/ workers of the Jain Adarsh Vidyala had informed the police that a student had committed suicide by jumping into a water tank on March 29. About 1 p.m. that afternoon, two police officials, one Kanhailal and Sandeep Lalit were sent to spot; the body was retrieved and sent to the mortuary of the local hospital for the post mortem. The IO also said that the PM report became available on March 31. The body had signs of injuries; there was no sign of water in the lungs.  Explaining this phenomenon, the IO said that often when those who drown have blockages in their food pipe due to which water does not get into the body!!! (Delta’s body was found several hours after she was found missing !)

The IO further said, “We have arrested PT teacher Vijendra Singh. He would be produced on April 1, 23016. Apart from sections 376(3)  of the IPC, sections of the Atrocities Act and POSCO Act have been applied to him. Only after the FSL report arrives a decision on applying Section 302 (murder) will be taken. “

The IO added, “The chairman of the institute, Eashwar Chand Ved is absconding. From others we have found that on the night of March 28, 2016, very late, 2 a.m. or so, the girl was found in the PT Teacher’s room. Both had admitted their ‘mistake’ and written an ‘apology.’ The IO also said  that knowledge of a relationship between the PT teacher and the girl had been coming to light for the past 2-3 months. The IO said that we are trying to get details of this from the mobile phones. The written report from the father of the girl was received by March 30. It is on the basis of that report that we have filed an FIR.”

(The Fact Finding Team has noted: The incident took place on March 29, 2016. Even after 24 hours the Police had not, by itself registered any FIR. In this amount of time, evidence can be destroyed; or those involved in the crime can abscond; a fake account can even be manufactured)

Following this, the Team reached the College where the BED college principle, Dr Rajendra Srimali met them in his office. 



Rajendra Srimali, Principal:
“Four different units run in within institution that include a CBSE secondary school, a degree college, a BSTC College and a BED College. In the past five months, I have also been given charge of the BSTC college.

“Delta Meghwal, is a a student from Garad Road, Barmer, daughter of Mahendra Ram Meghwal. Vijendra Singh, joined as PT teacher four months ago. Vijendra Singh was known to  Priya Shukla (the warden) and her husband, PP Shukla.  The couple recommended him.
Apart from a girls hostel, the premises also have some staff quarters. A little farther from the staff quarters are some other rooms in which Vijendra Singh was staying. He is married but his wife had not joined him.”
The principal also said that he got to know of the incident of the dead body of a student being found only on the afternoon of March 29, 2016. By this date, only four students had returned to the girls hostel after the Holi vacation. Priya Shukla is the warden of the hostel.
“It is the Warden only who could give all the details of what happened on March 28 and 29.”

Priya Shukla, Hostel of the Girls Hostel
Then Priya Shukla was called to Principal Srimali’s room.
Without the team even asking a question Priya Shukla began her account:
“I officially do not hold the post of Hostel Warden. But the administration had given me this responsibility as I stayed in the staff quarters. On March 28, around 12 noon I was informed that a girl named Delta was not in the hostel. At the time only four students had returned to the girls hostel after the Holi vacation.

“It was Leela Madam, holding the post of Nurse and staying with the students in the girls hostel, who phoned me and informed me of the girl’s absence. All of us began hunting for the girl since it was late at night and I even called my husband, PP Shukla to join the search.
“ I also called Vijendra Singh on the phone to help in the search. When he did not come out of his room for a long time, I knocked on his door which he opened after quite some time. He was told to help in the search for Delta who is missing. When Vijendra Singh tried to shut the door of his room, I got suspicious and went inside the room and put the light on. Delta was present there.

“When questioned, the PT teacher said ‘Delta had asked for awlas (berries) and come to get them’. It was 1.30 a.m. Both Delta and Vijendra accepted their ‘wrongdoing” and promised not to make such mistakes in future. Both were asked to write ‘maafi naaamas' (apologies)."

This incident was obviously attempted to be buried and no efforts made by the Warden to speak to Delta Meghwal on her own the whole of the next day after this incident.

Priya Shukla continued,
“On March 29, 2016 at about 7 am, again, it was Leela Madam who said to me that Delta was missing from the student’s hostel. The hunt for her began. At about 11 a.m. the chowkidar (guard) said that Delta's body is lying in the water tank. Then he informed the chairman Easwar Chand Ved, who called the police who removed the body from the tank.

Hanuman the chowkidar did not meet the team and his account therefore could not be recorded.

The team also met one Ghansiram Meghwal who does the work of masonry within the institute. He said about a fortnight earlier, the chairman, Easwar Chand Ved had told him that the tank near the girls hostel was leaking due to which water was seeping out; and asked him to repair it. He said he had not yet repaired it. Delta Meghwal’s body was found here.

The team also met with the Principal of the Nokha Government  Upper Primary School (Rajkiya Uccha Prathamik Vidyalaya Pradhan Adhyapak), Suresh Hathila. He recounted his assessment of Delta Meghwal.
Suresh Hathila said that Delta was a serious student and an extremely mature girl. Her BST Lesson Plans had been given in his school. Her way of teaching was creative and impressive. She worked very hard to prepare her lesson plans. She was very interested and good at art. She had got recognition from the chief minister of the state for this. How can such a student commit suicide? It is a very unfortunate incident, a tragedy; because of which Dalit students, especially girl students will feel very insecure. We demand that those guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment, he said.

Findings:
  1. If after the March 28 2016 incident Priya Shukla, her husband and other staff members  had --- instead of shrouding it in secrecy (and only believing the PT Teacher Vijendra Singh’s version) immediately informed responsible persons from institution and the police then Delta could have been saved from death
  2. The allocation of a room for a male PT Teacher within a Girls Hostel is a grave act of irresponsibility on the part of the administration and management
  3. On March 29 2016 at about 7 a.m. when Delta’s absence was intimated to Priya Shukla for the second time, her duties as a Hostel Warden required that she should have immediately informed responsible authorities of the institution, including the Principal. Her not doing so raises serious questions and raises grave suspicion(s).
  4. The water tank in which Delta was found dead has a depth of six feet. Significantly, the tank is fully covered; only a 1.5 foot X 1.5 foot hole exists which has a lid on top.  The lid has a hole for a lock and an old lock was seen by the team on the lid. But it was not locked. Why? Not locking the tank is an act of grave responsibility on the part of the Warden, Principal and Chairman of the institution.
  5. From the size of the opening on the tank, it is highly unlikely that a healthy young woman of 5 foot four could have entered inside at all.
  6. The fact that the police did not record the recovery of the body through videography deepens suspicions. Neither was a panchnama of the body performed.
  7. After the body was removed, press reporter Pavan Kumar himself took photos of the body. There were injuries on the body and blood was oozing out of one year. Bleeding from the ear in a death supposedly caused by drowning does not add up and further raises questions and suspicions.
  8. Delta is from a poor Dalit family who has no political backing and support. There is every chance that the authorities and chairman of the Jain Adarsh Vidyalaya will use clout and other means to ensure that the case does not read fruition and justice is not delivered.
From these preliminary findings, NCHRO reaches the conclusion that Delta Meghwal has not committed suicide.
Her death has been caused by serious circumstances that require a high level independent investigation.  
The NHRO also demands that the CBI should be brought in to enable the truth to emerge
NCHRO believes that young girls and women living in the Hostels of Educational Institutions are in danger if those guilty in this case are not given exemplary and prompt punishment in this case. The dignity of women and girls will not be safeguarded.

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