Child sexual assault: School suspends classes, parents agitate

Child sexual assault: School suspends classes, parents agitate

As hundreds of agitating people sat on a dharna in front of a Metro station  on Sunday in a protest against the alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old student of the G D Birla Centre for Education, the city school said it would remain closed from Monday.

The parents of the girl lodged a complaint at the Jadavpur Police station, demanding the immediate arrest of the principal of the school, S Nath, for allegedly suppressing facts about the incident and for not taking preventive measures despite a similar assault three years ago.

The authorities, in a notice this morning, informed "parents and all concerned" that the junior and senior sections of the school would be closed from Monday.

"Guardians can contact the principal for any further intimation," it said.

In another notice, the school authorities said the two physical training instructors who were arrested yesterday for allegedly assaulting the child had been "removed from service".

However, not satisfied with the action, parents of students of G D Birla and other schools held a sit-in in front of the Tollygunge Metro station for over four hours, demanding immediate police action against the principal, vice-principal and the class teacher for their alleged attempt to suppress the incident.

Deputy Commissioner, South Division of Kolkata Police, Rupesh Kumar said, "We had requested the agitators to lift the blockade and move to an auditorium where they could talk to the management representatives. Talks may not be possible on the road."

The DC confirmed an official complaint was lodged by the girl's father at the Jadavpur police station.

Turning down the plea for an alternative venue, Subrata Saha, a member of the Guardians' Forum, said, "We lifted the road blockade today. But we will not budge from our demand. The management including chairman of the school trust must come to the school for discussions. We won't go to any other venue."

He said the guardians would hold another dharna in front of the school tomorrow morning, demanding that it remain open and "the guardian forum representatives be allowed to inspect full-proof security arrangement in place for our children".

Reacting to the notice signed by the principal, Saha said, "This shows the vindictive attitude of the principal, who wants to break the Guardians' Forum."

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said, "The school authorities should have taken into account that inducting male PT teachers in a girls' school may lead to such situations."

A Kolkata court remanded the two PT instructors in police custody until Monday. The two have been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, which is non-bailable, a senior police official had said yesterday.

"They (the school) should have been more careful. They should not have appointed male PT teachers," Chatterjee added.  

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