The family of one of the two boys, who died after falling into a drainage pipe in their school, have accused the school authorities of negligence in duty in a case filed on Tuesday.
Abdul Quader Jilani, 12, and Srewo Mostafiz, 13, who were in sixth grade at Quantum Cosmo School and College in Lama, Bandarban, died on Monday, said acting headteacher Shariful Alam.
The school reopened about two months ago amid the pandemic with permission from the education ministry.
Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Lama Police Station, said, "It has to be thoroughly investigated how two sixth grader boys can die in a 13 inch pipe."
Mostafizur's father Bulbul Mostafiz told The Daily Star that corporal punishment was rampant in the school and he often saw bruises on his son's body after he came home from school.
"They [school authorities] are saying that the incident happened around 11:30pm on Monday, but they informed us at 3:30pm," Mostafiz said.
Contacted, acting headteacher Shariful said the allegations were baseless.
The boys were playing in the rain on Monday around 11:30am on the school playground when they fell into a nearby drainage pipe, he said.
"Abdul Quader was rescued around 12:30pm and Mostafizur around 1:10pm," he added.
They were taken to Lohagara Upazila Health Complex where doctors pronounced them dead around 2:30pm.
Sub-inspector Aminul Islam Bhuiyan of the nearby Kayaju Para Police Outpost, said, "We were informed about the incident around 12:30pm… One of the two students was already taken to Lohagara Upazila Health Complex by the time I reached there.
"I also did not see the other student as I was far from the spot from where he was found," he said.
Inspector Md Alamgir of Lama Police Station said, "There were some injury marks on different parts of their bodies. The cause of their death will be known after an autopsy."
Lama Upazila Nirbahi Officer Reza Rashid said, "Quantum school authorities did not tell us anything about the deaths. We will ask them why they hid the information and hold them accountable."
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, educational institutions across the country have been closed since March 17, 2020.
"We started the residential activities of the school about two months ago with the approval from the Ministry of Education," said Shariful.
Mohammad Ismat Ullah, who is mentioned as the senior assistant secretary in the secondary and higher education division at the education ministry in the copy of the approval, told the Daily Star, "I gave the approval on the instructions of the education minister."
The website of the Ministry of Education mentions Mohammad Ismat Ullah as the Deputy Secretary (Adjustment) of secondary and higher secondary division. This correspondent could not reach Education Minister Dipu Moni over the phone.
"The Ministry of Education has not informed us about this approval," Bandarban District Education Officer Sarit Kumar Chakma told the Daily Star.
On January 1, 2020, police recovered a hanging body of a class IX student from Quantum Cosmo School and College.