School hadn't verified antecedents of watchman: Panel

 An expert committee on preventing sexual violence against children and women, headed by Member of the Legislative Council V S Ugrappa, visited the school in Indiranagar – where a minor student was allegedly raped – on Wednesday and concluded that the school had not verified the antecedents of the watchman Gowtham, the main suspect in the case.

Confusion

This despite the fact that the school’s management and the local block education officer (BEO) claiming otherwise. There is also some amount of confusion as regards the number of years Gowtham has served in the school.

“The police have said he has been there for four-and-a-half years and the management claims he has been with them for seven to eight  years. However, what we have found is that the school did not ensure proper certification when he was taken into service. No appointment letter has been issued to him. It is a mistake on the part of the management,” said Ugrappa.

Interacting with Deccan Herald on Tuesday, the school staff, however, said verification was done not only in the case of the watchman, but also for drivers and other members of the staff. There are as many as 35 teaching and non-teaching staff and around 600 students in the school.

Hired on recommendation

When asked about the different versions of the BEO and the school management and that of the committee on the verification issue, Ugrappa said that the aunt of the watchman had been working for one of the teachers as a help and it seemed as if he had been hired only on recommendation.

“The Block Education Officer was with us during the inspection and he agreed with us. In any case, it is only the police who can verify the antecedents,” he said.

The committee also visited the victim and her family at Bowring Hospital.
Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Kripa Alva, also met the victim at the hospital. 

Kripa Alva said the child

did not want to go back to school and that the committee would ensure compensation for her.


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