Thursday, January 26, 2023
HomeIndiaAutopsy says no injuries, but in UP's Auraiya, Dalit teen's family says...

Autopsy says no injuries, but in UP’s Auraiya, Dalit teen’s family says ‘he told us he was beaten’

Post-mortem report says the 15-yr-old died of septicaemia & cops point to ‘kidney infection’ as root cause. But family claims 'beating' at hands of teacher led to his death.

Text Size:

Auraiya: A 15-year-old Dalit boy who died Monday in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district, weeks after his upper caste social science teacher allegedly thrashed him, succumbed to septicaemia (bacterial blood poisoning), according to the post-mortem report.

While the police have claimed that the teenager was suffering from a kidney infection, his family members have denied the same.

The death of Nikhit Kumar, a resident of Achhalda town in Auraiya, had triggered violent protests in the area, with an angry mob even setting a police vehicle afire. The agitation took place after Nikhit’s family members claimed that his health started failing soon after Ashwini Singh, his teacher at Adarsh Inter-College, had allegedly punched, kicked, and hit him with sticks on 7 September, purportedly because he wrote the name of the subject, ‘samajik vigyan‘, incorrectly in an exam paper.

“The post-mortem confirms that he died of septicaemia and rules out any external or internal injuries,” Shishya Pal, additional superintendent of police (SP) in Auraiya, told ThePrint.

“Investigation has revealed that the teenager was suffering from a kidney infection. I am yet to see the papers but this is what has come to the fore so far,” he added.

However, Nikhit’s family members deny that he was suffering from a kidney infection and maintain the alleged beating caused his death. The local media have also published pictures that purport to show ‘injuries’ on the back of the deceased teen.

Asked about these images, Nikhit’s father claimed they were indeed of his son’s, taken after his death. Additional SP Pal, however, said he could not “verify” if the pictures were of the teen.

Another teenager, Ajay, was also allegedly beaten on 7 September by the same teacher. However, when ThePrint visited his house, it was locked and a neighbour, Sanju Devi, said the family had left for “a few months”.

The alleged assault on Nikhit was first reported to the police on the evening of 24 September, two days before his death. An FIR was lodged the same day against Ashwini Kumar under IPC sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), as well as sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

A vehicle set ablaze during the protest in Auraiya | ANI

In the FIR, accessed by ThePrint, the teenager’s father Raju Dohare alleged that Ashwini gave some money for the boy’s treatment but when he was asked to provide additional funds for the same purpose, he hurled casteist insults and threatened to beat up Dohare if he did not leave immediately. Ashwini Kumar is yet to be apprehended by the police.

Meanwhile, after protests broke out over the teenager’s death, the police have lodged FIRs against his father, local BSP leader Sanghpriya Gautam, and dozens of named and unnamed persons under various IPC sections, including 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (armed rioting), and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc).

Also read: ‘No separate water matka, boy had ear infection’ — doubts arise over Jalore Dalit’s death

Conflicting claims about ‘kidney infection’

The cause of death on Nikhit’s autopsy report is septicaemia, which occurs when a bacterial infection enters the blood from elsewhere in the body. According to the police, their investigations point to the root cause being a kidney infection.

While the teenager’s family denied this, Nikhit’s schoolmates told ThePrint that he would keep unwell and his family had even informed the school authorities that he shouldn’t be beaten up.

However, according to medical experts, septicaemia can be caused by various factors.

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr. Pradeep Shailat, a physician at the Government District Hospital in Noida, said that even injuries can lead to septicaemia.

“It is possible for a blood infection to be triggered by an injury, causing subsequent septic shock,” he added.

‘Body started swelling 2-3 days after beating’

Raju Dohare told ThePrint that his son Nikhit was allegedly beaten because he had written an incorrect word in his OMR sheet during a social science test. He claimed that another classmate, Ajay, was also beaten on the same day.

“Nikhit was beaten up badly with sticks. He was punched by the teacher in the stomach and sides too. One of his classmates from neighbouring Tehrajpur village who came to our house informed us that he too was beaten up badly. A friend later said that [Nikhit] bled from the nose too, but our son did not inform us about it,” he added.

The teenager’s mother meanwhile said that her other son had also mentioned the alleged beating, but Nikhit was reluctant to give details about what had happened at school.

“He told me that he was beaten but did not initially say that he was thrashed after being made to lie down on the ground. My son did not eat that day…after two-three days I noticed his body started swelling,” she added.

Accused teacher Ashwini Singh | By special arrangement

On 13 September, Nikhit’s parents and uncle went to meet the school authorities and claimed they also spoke to the social science teacher Ashwini Singh.

“The principal was on leave since his father has been keeping unwell, but I met another teacher called Dinesh as well as Ashwini. I told Ashwini that he should either get my son’s treatment done at a hospital or I would lodge a police complaint against him. He said that he would bear the cost of treatment and gave Rs 10,000 first. After that, he gave Rs 30,000 again,” Dohare said.

In the ensuing days, the teenager was shuttled back and forth from various medical facilities.

He was first taken to the community health centre (CHC) in Achhalda and then a private hospital in Etawah. However, as Nikhit’s health failed to improve, he was referred to a higher medical centre by the hospital.

On 24 September, Nikhit was taken to the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences in Saifai, Etawah, but his father claimed that he was denied admission there as doctors said his condition was too serious for them to treat, and that he should be taken to Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPCI).

At this point, the family claimed they approached Ashwini for more funds.

“He picked up my call once and said that he will not give money. He said that whether we get the treatment done or not, he would not give more money,” Dohare said. When he went to meet Ashwini, he claimed he was threatened.

After this, Dohare lodged a police complaint on 24 September.

The next morning, 25 September, Nikhit was again taken to the Achhalda CHC. The OPD slip, which ThePrint has seen, says he was diagnosed with “generalised body swelling” and “difficulty in breathing”. The teen was put on life support and again referred to SGPGI Lucknow.

“When we reached SGPGI, staff informed us that they had no vacant bed. We returned from Lucknow and took our son to Dibiyapur Medical College in Auraiya. The authorities referred him to Etawah Medical University again,” Dohare said.

On 26 September, Nikhit was taken to Etawah, but he died shortly before being admitted.

“When we reached the university early Monday morning and were about to take him inside the hospital, he died soon after his oxygen mask was removed,” his father said.

Case against teen’s father, protesters

In the wake of fiery protests breaking out over Nikhit’s death, the police in Achhalda have lodged an FIR for rioting, criminal intimidation, and other offences against the teenager’s father and 34 other named accused, including the local BSP coordinator Sanghpriya Gautam, and 250 other unnamed individuals.

The FIR lodged by inspector Lalit Kumar said that on 26 September, the accused had removed Nikhit’s body from an ambulance and placed it in front of Adarsh Inter College. They then allegedly protested with sticks in their hands, raised slogans, and hurled expletives against the administration and government.

Despite assurances by senior officers, the protesters raised “unsuitable demands” and set police vehicles afire, the FIR added.

Asked about this, Nikhit’s father claimed that he had nothing to do with the protest. “We have lost our son. We don’t have time to plan such a thing. How can we resort to all this?” he said.

This report has been updated to correct Additional Superintendent of Police Shishya Pal’s designation.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

Also read: UP ‘honour killing’: Muslim woman’s autopsy suggests poison, brothers ‘killed Dalit lover in her room’



Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular