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Guardians set deadline for removing school principal

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

The protesting parents of the students of the G D Birla Centre for Education here gave the school management time till 5 pm tomorrow to remove the principal, in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old girl student by two male teachers on the school premises.

The Guardians' Forum continued with its protest against the alleged atrocity for the fifth consecutive day today.


Earlier in the day, the principal of the school, Sharmila Nath, who has courted a fresh controversy by revealing the victim's name in contravention of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, was summoned by the city police.

A sweeper and two other non-teaching staff members of the school were also summoned for questioning, a senior Police official said.

The Guardians' Forum held a four-hour-long meeting with the school management on the institute's premises. Representatives of the education department and police were also present at the meeting.

A spokesman of the forum told reporters that the school had sought time till 5 pm tomorrow for taking a decision on removing the principal, who was accused of suppressing facts about the alleged sexual assault, which was reported on Thursday last week.

Forum member Krishnendu Mukherjee told PTI, "We had discussions with the management for hours on two issues, the removal of the principal and the opening of the school, so that the students could attend the classes in a safe environment. The management will let us know about its decision regarding the principal at 5 pm tomorrow."

A spokesman of the school said, "We are conducting an internal disciplinary process and by 5 pm tomorrow, we will let the guardians know of our decision."

He said the school did not get a chance to initiate any follow-up action till Friday midnight due to the sit-in protests by the guardians and then, due to the weekend holidays.

"We did not get a scope to start the process during this time. For us, the students' benefits, their comfort and running the school smoothly are of paramount importance," he added.

To a question, the spokesman said Nath was appointed to the post years back on account of her academic efficiency.

To a question, Mukherjee said there was no question of going back on the demand for the principal's arrest.

"Since an FIR has already been filed against her and a probe initiated by the police, let the legal procedure be completed. We have full faith that action will be taken against her, in accordance with the law, soon."

Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti, who too attended the meeting, said the commission stood by the guardians' demand.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly briefly visited the protest venue for the second time since yesterday and met the victim's parents.

"I express my solidarity with you," she said to the girl's father, who told her with folded hands that the guardians had resolved to fight the issue on their own.

Meanwhile, the principal courted a fresh controversy as she mentioned the name of the four-year-old girl in her letter, which was sent yesterday to around 4,000 guardians, assuring the safety of their wards in the school.

"We have been running the school smoothly for the past 44 years. We can assure you that the safety and security of all our students is always our highest priority while they are on the school premises and travelling on our school buses," Nath had written in the letter after naming the girl.

The WBCPCR would issue a show-cause notice to her for identifying the girl, which was in violation of the provisions of the POCSO Act, Chakraborti said.

"This is absolutely illegal. She (Nath) cannot name the child. She has violated the basic tenets of humanity," she added.

The school authorities had, through a notice on Sunday, had informed the "parents and all concerned" that the junior and senior sections of the school would remain shut from Monday.

In another notice, it had said the two physical training instructors, who were arrested on Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting the child, were removed from service and promised full cooperation in the police probe.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 05 2017. 20:50 IST
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