Kolkata school suspends classes, parents agitate

Hundreds of guardians of students of the G.D. Birla Centre for Education, a renowned private school in south Kolkata, where a kindergarten student was allegedly sexually abused by teachers recently, blocked a busy thoroughfare connecting the central with the southern part of the city on Sunday.

The blockade, which continued for several hours till evening, was held against the decision of the school authorities to keep the school closed for an indefinite period from Monday. Parents also demanded the arrest and resignation of the school’s Principal.

“The school authorities cannot take such an abrupt decision to keep the school closed for an indefinite period as it would jeopardise the future of students,” said a guardian. The protesters also argued that closing the school cannot be a solution to the issue and that school authorities should first ensure the safety of the students.

Police struggled to convince the agitating parents to lift the blockade and even agreed to arrange a meeting with the school authorities. “Since one of the key demands of the guardians was to hold a meeting with the school authorities, we can arrange it at the auditorium of the Kolkata Police’s Bodyguard Line [in south Kolkata] on Monday,” Deputy Commissioner of Police-South Suburban Division Rupesh Kumar told journalists. He also said that the school authorities have agreed to meet the guardians.

However, the agitated guardians turned down the police’s offer and said that they would meet the school authorities only on the school’s premises.

Meanwhile, the father of the victim lodged a complaint against Principal Sharmila Nath at the city’s Jadavpur Police Station. “He [the girl’s father] has lodged a police complaint against the principal today [Sunday]. The Principal was aware of the crime and she tried concealing it,” said Priyanka Tibrewal, the lawyer of the girl’s father. Earlier, in a letter to the child’s father, Ms.Nath had stated that the two accused teachers had been removed.

The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) also demanded the arrest of the Principal.

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