The G D Birla Girls’ School of Ranikuthi, Kolkata has been accused of serious lack of security when two teachers, Mohammed Mofizuddin and Abhishek Roy were arrested under sections 4 and 6 of POCSO act for allegedly raping a four-year-old student in the washroom, as per reports. The alleged rape took place on Thursday, 30 November and the arrest was bad on Friday, 1 December.
The management of GD Birla Centre for Education has decided on closing the school till further notice. Agitating parents have claimed it is aimed at weakening their protests against the horrific incident.
The current incident
As per the records of the police, the girl was raped by her physical education teacher in the school toilet. They had allegedly lured the girl into the toilet by offering her chocolates and then sexually assaulted her.
She was bleeding from her genitals, crying for her mother, and later identified the two accused men as “dushtu sir” (bad teachers) from a photograph.
When her mother came to pick her up from school around 4pm, she noticed blood stains on her clothes; the child was crying and complained of pain.
The parents took her to the girl’s regular pediatrician for check up. The paediatrician pointed out to the parents that the child was sexually assaulted. The parents, then, rushed with the child to a police station and were then escorted by the police to a hospital.
Although, four doctors in S.S.K.M. Hospital, Kolkata examined the girl in the presence of two police officers, forensic experts confirmed it as a case of sexual abuse, the school Principal, Sharmila Nath has denied any such incident.
Protests by parents
The CCTV cameras that were installed were not in working condition.
Parents have come out on the streets demanding security for their children and insisting that the school authorities immediately install CCTV cameras. The parents want to know why in an all-girls institute, a male staff was recruited, and even if they were, why were they not put through proper scanning procedure.
There are also demands for resignation of the Principal of this ‘esteemed’ educational institute. They have sent a letter to the authority with mass signature.
The school Principal has, however said that security concerns of their students is their top priority but she was not ready to comment on the lack of CCTV cameras in the school. She also assured that the school will install CCTV cameras in the month of December.
Uproar among the alumni of the school
The recent incident has led to a lot of hue and cry among the alumni of the school. They have come out in the social media to voice their experiences. Some of the social media posts also highlight how the institution has never been able to endear itself to its students because of its stringent rules and strings of sexual harassment and mental abuse cases.
Rupkatha Basu, former student of GD Birla, narrates her experiences. I know her personally and can vouch for…
Posted by Abhishek Mukherjee on Saturday, December 2, 2017
Mental abuse isn't new in GD Birla.It was my third month in GDB, 11th grade.Right before exams, I realised Biology was…
Posted by Madhulika Kumar on Saturday, December 2, 2017
Previous cases of sexual harassment in the school
The school has been in news before on the same ground when a minor girl was molested by a bus helper on 3 November, 2014. The incident happened outside the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in a makeshift toilet.
The school authority had tried to hush the parents up, promising for an internal enquiry but that was not delivered. After that, a large number of parents gathered at the playground of the school demanding better security and CCTV cameras.
Sharmila Nath, the Principal of the school, had initially denied that any such unforeseen event had happened. Later, however, the school claimed to have taken action and said it had already conducted an internal inquiry and suspended a male staff member. He was apparently identified after the child seemed to recoil at the sight of him in a red T-shirt.
However, the parents then had withdrawn the case as well as the girl from the school bringing the situation back to normal.
Responses from government authorities
West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that he shall ensure serious and speedy probe into the matter. He added that he was aware of a similar case in the school, three years ago.
“I have no words to condemn the incident. Strongest punishment should be given to those responsible for the incident,” he reportedly said.
Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Minister Sasi Panja said the child welfare committee has been asked to visit the school and the hospital where the girl was admitted.
West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Ananya Chakraborty had enquired about the installation of CCTV cameras in the school but did not receive any satisfactory answer from them – she wants a detailed investigation into the matter.
The Logical Indian Take
The horrific incident has taken us all by shock. The Logical Indian community renders its heartfelt condolences to the family and the three-year-old who are going through a tough time.
At the same time, we urge the concerned authorities to ensure a speedy and unbiased investigation into the matter so that justice is meted out as soon as possible.
A school is supposed to be a second home for a child. But some recent cases like that of the murder of Pradyuman in the Ryan International School, Gurgaon and this present case have eroded our trust in the security facilities in schools.
We request to the school authorities to not remain apathetic to the fear and anguish of the protesting parents, take matters seriously and ensure proper security measures in the school.
You can sign a petition to condemn the incident in G.D. Birla school.