Govt forms panel to probe school molest

The Holy Cross International School in Danapur

Patna: The state education department constituted a probe committee on Thursday, a day after a sweeper allegedly molested an eight-year old student at the Holy Cross International School in Danapur.

The Patna district education officer will head the committee, said R.K. Mahajan, principal secretary, education. The committee has been asked to submit its report within 48 hours.

"The special secretary, education department, is preparing a draft under which functioning of all private schools will be assessed," Mahajan said. "The committee will look into the admission procedure of students in these private schools, the fee structure, the syllabus, and infrastructure facilities."

Police have arrested Ramji Prasad, who is accused of molesting the Class II student inside the girls' toilet.

The parents and guardians of many students, however, are demanding the arrest of the school director and principal.

The Danapur police have recorded the statements of the girl and her parents in the presence of a woman police officer. The child recorded her statement before a magistrate on Thursday under Section 164 of the CrPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The girl also underwent a medical test at Patna Medical College and Hospital on Thursday.

"The girl and her parents have blamed the sweeper Ramji Prasad," said Danapur sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Rajesh Kumar. "There is no (formal) complaint against school director B.K. Thakur and principal Sanju Thakur, so police have not taken action against them."

The SDPO said it was the school administration who had informed the child's family about the incident. School sources said Prasad was thrashed before he was handed over to the police.

The molestation triggered angry protests at the school by many parents and local residents, who shouted slogans against the school management and demanded the arrest of the principal and director. The mob, which laid siege to the school, also pelted stones and broke several window panes.

A large number of police personnel were deployed outside the school on Thursday morning. Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav staged a demonstration outside the school on Thursday morning demanding action against the school administration.

The school authorities said they have complied with most safety directives of the district administration, and blamed the protests on vested interests who wanted favours from the school. Many parents, however, were not convinced.


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