Pune: Unhappy with what is being construed as lack of safety guidelines by school authorities, coupled with the insensitive responses from teachers over the girl raped by the bus attendant; agitated parents, students, former students and political activists protested outside the school in Wanowrie, to ensure safety measures. They demanded resignation of the teachers and management for security lapses. Meanwhile, sensing trouble, heavy police bandobast was deployed outside the school.
Agitated parents and students along with Ganesh and Atul Wanawadikar from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Mangal Dhere city president of Bhartiya Janata Party gathered in the school premises from 7.30 am and stayed until late evening. The parents demanded that the Karate sir and the teacher who try to hush up the incident be called to the school. One of the school director came to meet the mob and promised to co-operate in police investigation.
Parents express shock
Talking to dna, parent Seema Jha, who has two of her children studying in the school said, "I was shock to read about the child abuse case. When I was discussing it with my son he said that the Karate sir usually indulges in such behaviour. I immediately called one of the teachers, who said that this is an old incident and the girl is characterless and mad. Which annoyed me enough to approach the school."
Other parents, Komal Shintre and Padma Acharya echo the sentiment. "We do not have any parent teacher association in the school. We pay around Rs70,000 in fees every year and our children are not protected. We demand the principal should resign and the entire management must be dissolved. We want sensible and sensitive people to handle our children."
An ex-student of the school, Anup Kumbhar said, "After this news, when I interacted with other bus drivers, they too were aware about the incident right from October, but they chose to be silent. Usually there is no private security at school, but for the last two days we could see more security in the area."
On one hand, principal Moushumi Chowdhury continues to say, "The parents did not approach me in the past. They had voluntary withdrawn their daughter's name from our school with reasons of inconvenience in the transport facility."
On the other hand victim's father said, "Chowdhury was well aware of such incident and defended the bus attendant. My daughter was not safe I didn't want more trouble for her. But the school authority and management was well aware about it from December till March. They even had a counsellor visiting the school to talk to my daughter."
The father also clarified, "There are reports in newspapers that Pathan had committed the act as I failed to pay the monthly bus fees. But I was regularly paying Rs850 for the service, and despite not taking the bus for the last two months, i had paid Rs1000 in advance. This is wrong allegations made by school and Pathan."
Senior Police Inspector B N Kale said that security was tightened around the school premises as they did not want a repeat of the Deccan school incident. Kale said, "It is a very sensitive issue and we have informed the school authorities to take necessary steps in connection with the safety of school students, especially girls. The education department officials were also present during the meeting."
School buses under RTO norms
Dr Parmanand Katariya said, "We meet with the school authorities and discussed that the school bus be brough under the provisions of the RTO norms. We came to know that school gets commission, and so we demanded such bus fees must be collected from school fees only. We do not have Parent teacher association and there should be suggestion box."
Following the agitation by the parent, students and political parties for over 12 hours, the principal, a teacher and one of the management members have submitted their registrations on late Saturday evening. In the meantime, on Saturday the Pune Municipal Corporation's School Education Board had issued a notice to school principal stating that its the duty of principal to ensure student's safety when they are travelling in the school bus.
dna has copy of the notice which suggests that the incident which took place in school is condemnable, and irresponsible, and this is result of negligence in rendering duties. So the board is compelled to take lawful action against the school authorities. They have to be present at the board's office for clarification on behalf of school on April 21. If fail to remain comply, stringent action will be taken against the school."
Rally at the school
While the school prepares to answer the show-cause notice, agitated parents and students will be planning & organising a rally at the school on Monday at 7.30 am.