The nation which firmly believes in the philosophy of Gross National Happiness is devastated by what happened in Yebilaptsa Middle Secondary School on 16th October 2015. The entire population of Bhutan react with shock to the senseless murder of a 13-year-old student of Grade 7 for no personal fault of her own. What is most shocking about this particular incident is that the crime was committed by her own teacher, the Assistant Principal and this is something Bhutan had never seen in our schools before. Schools are supposed to provide a safe environment for students to learn, play and have fun with friends, but tragedies like this one is really unthinkable. It’s a shame to the entire education sector.
However, I feel it’s always good to look at the situation from more than one angle to get a broader view of the issue. I heard that as Assistant Principal, teacher and Scouts Master, Karma Sangay was a respectable person and that he was very much committed to the overall welfare of the school. However, his life began to fall apart lately as he discovered that his wife was having an illicit affair with another man, the victim’s father. After all of his attempts to restore his relationship with his wife failed, he became depressed and at the same time, infuriated. Some rumors say that he had even once attempted to kill his own child in a bid to torture his wife but the child was rescued to safety by other people on time. Others add that he had even attempted to kill himself out of frustration. Then in a feat of anger and madness, he finally caught hold of his ultimate victim, the 13-year-old girl student of Grade 7 who was the daughter of the actual man he had wanted to teach a bitter lesson. As recorded in his diary, Karma Sangay had planned in advance to kill the girl to avenge her father’s illicit sexual relationship with his wife. Some people say that even on that fateful day, it’s believed that his wife had gone to Gelephu with her illicit lover and perhaps, this could be the main reason that could have pushed him to the peak of his evil thoughts and actions. Although he has confessed to police that the girl had come to charge him to provide evidences of her father’s affair with his wife when he pushed her and strangled her to death in a feat of anger, I don’t think this is really convincing because in our context, it’s not common for a student to have the guts to challenge a teacher under any circumstance. I believe that Karma Sangay first sent the girl to her house to reach a bunch of keys during the morning Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW) and then he followed her in a while to execute his long-awaited plan. The reports say that he had strangled the girl to death with a muffler and hid the body under his bed. However, the absence of the girl in the classroom was noticed only hours later and the school launched a search campaign with the help of students and teachers. After the school authorities failed to locate the girl, a missing complaint was lodged at 4 pm. Then at around 5:30 pm, the girl’s father also came with some villagers to aid the search team. Then after the girl’s father suggested that they go to the Assistant Principal’s house to check, the team went there and found the accused sleeping on his bed with the girl’s body underneath. He was arrested soon after.
Although Karma Sangay’s situation deserves our sympathy and love, the strategy he has chosen to take revenge against his wife’s lover is really gruesome and inhumane. He should have instead sought appropriate support from relevant people before the issue grew complicated. I strongly feel that victimizing some innocent souls as revenge against somebody else is a very cowardly act. He should not have forgotten that there are laws in the country that could have helped him deal with the situation without landing him in the jail. The girl in this case was very innocent and by circumstances, she became the easy prey for the accused. It’s really tragic and sad that a daughter had to pay the prize for her father’s immoral behavior. This is what happens when you try to hold on to the issue without seeking appropriate interventions on time. Perhaps, seeing a counselor or a mental health doctor could have saved him from committing such a heinous crime. Now that the crime has been committed, I feel the wife of the accused and the victim’s father should also be held responsible because this tragedy was the result of their indecent relationship, if this allegation is really true. For now, I know the whole nation is with the victim in thoughts and prayers. I hope the justice will soon prevail and the questions about the girl’s untimely death will be answered to the satisfaction of all the concerned citizens of Bhutan. May her soul rest in peace!
The opinions expressed in this article are solely my own based on what I have heard from others and what I have read on social media. So, the specific details I have provided might have to be verified further.