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The police on Sunday lodged a case against the principal of a city school where a four-year-old girl was “sexually assaulted by two teachers”.
The victim’s father had lodged a complaint against the principal at Jadavpur police station, and demanded her arrest for trying to “hush up the incident”. The case has been lodged under sections 420 (cheating), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 21 of the POCSO Act.
“The principal made contradicting statements and tried to hush up the matter. It is not the first time such an incident has taken place at her school. In 2014, a similar incident had taken place, and in these three years, she has done nothing to check it. We feel she should be arrested for sheer negligence, and she must immediately resign,” the father told reporters.
Priyanka Tibrewal, the lawyer of the victim’s family, said, “We have lodged a complaint against the principal. She has tried to hide such an incident and not report it to police. She even tried to hide the accused teachers. She is equally responsible for the crime.”
The two accused physical education teachers had been arrested after the victim’s father lodged a complaint at Jadavpur police station for sexually assaulting his daughter inside a school washroom. Both were produced at Alipore Court on Saturday and remanded to police custody. Sources said the detective department of Kolkata Police has taken over the case.
The chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) also demanded the principal’s arrest. “The Chairperson has already spoken to Mr Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police and Mr Vishal Garg, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Kolkata, and demanded the arrest. According to POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012, aiders and abettors who join the crime are equally guilty and responsible and liable to punishment,” read a WBCPCR statement.
Meanwhile, authorities have shut down the school, issuing a statement that read, “Parents and all concerned are informed that both the junior and senior sections of the school will remain closed from Monday, 4 December 2017 till further notice.”
The shutdown angered parents, who first staged a protest in front of the school, and later put up a sit-in demonstration at Deshapran Sashmal Road. They raised a five-point charter of demands, including the arrest and resignation of the principal. They also took out a rally from Ranikuthi to Tollygunge and put up a blockade at Deshapran Sashmal. They said senior students were scheduled to sit for examinations from Monday onwards, and they were shocked to learn about the school’s closure.
“The principal will have to resign from her post, and she must be arrested. The management of the school will have to ensure safety and security of our daughters. It should construct separate toilets for boys and girls. They will have to appoint female attendants for students, and must apologise to us,” said a protester.
The protesters also formed a Guardian’s Forum to press their demands.They asked the school’s management to hold talks with them. “We don’t want the school to shut down. We want the management to change their system at the school. Parents of students (appearing for the examination) will come to the school at 7 am along with their children,” said another parent.
Deputy Commissioner of Kolkata Police (South Suburban Division) Rupesh Kumar announced that the school management has agreed to hold talks, and proposed that they organise the meeting at the auditorium in Alipore Bodyguard Line. “We have given them the proposal to hold the discussion at our auditorium in Alipore Bodyguard Line at 2 pm on Monday,” Kumar told reporters.
Protesters, however, refused to accept, with one of them saying, “It is an internal matter of the school, and it should be discussed within its premises. We don’t want any discussion to be held outside.”
The agitators lifted their protest after around five hours.
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