Xavier’s girl found hanging, FIR on priest

Jamshedpur, Sept. 16., 2019: 15 year-old student of St Xavier’s High School at Chaibasa was found hanging at her home in the Patahatu area, some 80km from the steel city, on Saturday. Her mother has accused a priest at the missionary school of humiliating and torturing her daughter.

Jyoti Bari, her mother Lilamati Bari said in her statement to the police on Sunday, killed herself after allegedly being tortured by a priest in the school on Friday.

However, Lilamati, whose husband Birendra Nath Bari works as an assistant sub-inspector in the India Reserve Battalion, could not name the priest in the FIR.

No suicide note of the girl has been found.

The mother said Jyoti, a student of Class X, had gone to school on Friday despite pain in her legs. She said she sent one of Jyoti’s elder sisters, Soni, to bring Jyoti home from school at 2pm.

“Soni said Jyoti was crying uncontrollably. Jyoti had told her that their class teacher sent her to the school’s sickroom, where a Father (priest) had tortured her and snatched her schoolbag,” Lilamati said in the FIR.

The mother in her statement said in the evening Soni took the crying girl to the school to contact the Father, but he asked Soni to visit the school on Monday for a proper explanation.

Both the girls returned home, Jyoti still clearly upset. Next morning, she was found hanging from the ceiling fan of the room.

Chaibasa Muffasil police station officer-in-charge (OC) Ashutosh Kumar said they came to know about the incident late on Saturday afternoon. The girl’s body has been sent to Chaibasa Sadar Hospital for post-mortem.

“The case was filed today (Sunday),” he said. “We went to St Xavier’s High School for a investigation but it being a holiday no one from the school management committee was available. We will go to the school on Monday again,” the OC said.

Kumar said if the priest had abetted the girl’s suicide, he would be arrested.

St Xavier’s, a co-ed school with over 1,500 students, is one of the most well-known institutions of the area.

The Telegraph tried to contact school principal Father Staney Furtado, but he did not answer his cellphone.

Father C.G. Thomas, a senior teacher, refused to comment on the matter.

An alumna of the school, who now lives in Jamshedpur, told The Telegraph that two of the missionary Fathers in the school were “verbally abusive” and liked to punish students for small lapses, ordering them out of class or outside the school gates.


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