53-year-old Zahir Ansari is a seasoned fighter. And after five years of battling the school's corrupt activities, he has won, but insists there is much more to fight for. "Most of the school's students belong to lower middle class backgrounds. I'm a taxi driver. A lot of us are labourers and struggle to make ends meet. Per year, we end up paying at least between Rs 15,000 and 20,000 to the school, which is illegal, apart from the regular fee," said says the taxi driver.
"I and a bunch of other parents and education activists wrote several letters to the education department. The school had collected Rs 40 lakh in the name of building funds two years ago. The state education department asked the school to return this money, which it hasn't. Even the local police did not lodge a complaint," he added. The school has also been collecting funds in the name of activity fee, PTA fee and funds for various functions and activities, he said.
For Ansari, the straw was when the future of his daughter was at stake. "My child was harassed by the management. She was threatened by the principal. When the principal told us that she will not part with the mark sheet or leaving certificate if I don't pay Rs 2,000, I had to approach the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Unless the school hands over the certificates, my daughter will not get admission for class 11 anywhere else. I hope the ACB brings a stop to their corrupt practices and takes action against the principal and management. All the parents will cooperate with the investigations," he said.