School suspends classes, angry parents protest
Kolkata: In the wake of protests by guardians following the sexual abuse of a four-year-old girl in the school, the authorities of GD Birla Centre for Education in Ranikuthi in south Kolkata on Sunday announced the closure of the school for an indefinite period.
It is learnt that both the junior and senior sections of the school that is located in two separate buildings one opposite the other will remain closed until further notice.
The Detective Department of Kolkata Police took up the investigation of the case from Jadavpur police station on Sunday soon after the victim's father lodged an FIR with the police station demanding the arrest of the school principal Sharmila Nath in this connection.
The Police has initiated a case under Section 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act (POCSO), criminal conspiracy (120B) and fraud under section 420 of Indian Penal Code against the school principal on the basis of the complaint.
The authorities announced the school's closure through notice that was posted on the school gate as well as in the wall beside the school gate.,
A letter signed by the Principal of the school was sent to the Baghajatin residence of the victim's father stating that the school authorities empathise with him and the family members of the victim. The letter further stated that the two accused physical training instructors of the school have already been removed. It stated," We are further strengthening and tightening our safety and security measures in the school. This will include surveillance mechanism."
The process of installing CCTV cameras in the school that began from Saturday continued even on Sunday.
" I had thought that the principal of the school or any senior teacher would come to our house and see the condition of my child. But they had not done so, and the Principal had claimed that when they handed over the child to my wife, there was nothing wrong with her," the victim's father said.
The announcement of indefinite closure has come as a surprise to the guardians. "The pre-board examination is scheduled to commence from the third week of December. The ISC and ICSE examinations are expected to be held in February. If the school remains closed then studies would be hampered as the syllabus has not been completed as yet," a guardian pointed out and alleged that it is pressure tactics on the part of the school as they have been vocal against the principal of the school and have been demanding her resignation and arrest.
The guardians of the school organised a sit-in demonstration at Tollygunge Phari area a few kilometres away from the school and demanded enhanced security and arrest of the principal.