No action against principal even 4 days after sexual abuse plaint

Four days after a complaint of sexual harassment is registered against Kumar Thakur, principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya Hebbal, the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan (KVS) is yet to act against him. Top sources in the school state that Thakur was only “forced” to go on leave, despite such serious allegations. The Sanghatan has not even suspended the principal.  

When asked about laxity, Devakumar, Deputy Commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Bengaluru, said that the matter had been brought to the notice of the KVS head office. “We are awaiting response from the head office on enquiries to be conducted. I do not have the power act against the principal” he said. Soon after obtaining bail, Thakur visited the school on Thursday (February 2). Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), Chandragupta, said that the investigating officer ensured that Thakur left the school premises immediately. Congress MLC V S Ugrappa, chairperson expert committee on prevention of sexual violence against women and children, said that objections were not filed to Thakur’s bail application.

“I came to know that the public prosecutor was not present in the court when the bail application came up for hearing. Now, we will ask the public prosecutor to move an application for cancellation of the bail,’’ he said. The Kendriya Vidyalaya at Hebbal, which has 1,200 girl students and 50 women staff, has no committee to look into cases of sexual harassment at workplace, he said.

Ugrappa, who visited the school on Friday said that the school was conducting 10-day camp for 24 students who lagged in studies. Such students were asked to stay in the school still 7.30 pm. “We have questioned the school authorities who authorised them to make students stay back beyond school hours’’ Ugrappa said. Besides the specific complaint that led to the arrest of Thakur, there were several individual incidents of teachers and students expressing displeasure about his behaviour. However, deputy commissioner claimed that he was not informed about the same.

Child rights activists have sought the Sanghatan to swing into action at the earliest. “Why didn’t the Sanghatan warn the suspect against visiting the school? It is a sign of sheer carelessness on behalf of the school management,” an activist said.

The matter came to light only after only after Child Line, an organisation working for children, took the lead and lodged the complaint. According to sources, staff and children of the school informed the helpline on condition of anonymity. Vasudeva Sharma, a member, lodged the complaint with the police. Sharma sought that the bail granted to the principal be cancelled in the interest of children.

Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Kripa Alva who visited the spot said that the commission had asked for immediate suspension of the principal. “His house is located on the school premises. We have asked the authorities to relocate him elsewhere so that he has no access to the school,” Kripa said.
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