Gap in school version & CCTV image: West Bengal child rights panel
The school where a Class X girl was found dead in a washroom with self-inflicted wounds has told the child rights panel that female attendants had been on duty outside the washroom on the day of the incident.
The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights, however, said the CCTV footage provided by the school did not substantiate the claim.
The child rights watchdog had written to the GD Birla Centre for Education on June 26, seeking to know whether female attendants had been present outside the washroom where Class X student Krittika Paul was found dead.
Commission chairperson Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti said the CCTV footage did not suggest the presence of any female attendant outside the washroom. The commission will send another letter to the school, highlighting the discrepancy between their response and the footage.
The commission had requested the school to share CCTV footage of the area outside the washroom and also to state when they came to know about the incident.
The letter addressed to the school’s governing body had asked: “Whether any female attendant was there to monitor the ingress and egress of the students from the washroom on that day (June 21)?”
“The school has said in its response that female attendants were present outside the washroom. But the CCTV footage does not substantiate that. It shows that when the Class X student entered the washroom, female attendants were not present. Rather when a search begun for the student, the CCTV footage showed a female attendant rushing towards the washroom,” Chatterjee Chakraborti told Metro.
“The CCTV footage also suggests that a male attendant was entering and exiting the washroom apparently to clean the facility. This is also not expected of the school. We would soon write to the school about our objection to the male attendant entering and exiting the washroom,” the commission chairperson said.
An official of the commission said during an earlier incident, the school authorities had said female attendants would be posted outside washrooms.
Chatterjee Chakraborti said that had that been done, the attendants could have noticed that a student was spending an unusually long time in the washroom and intervened.
Repeated calls to principal Sharmila Nath went unanswered. She also did not respond to text messages.
Vice-principal Urmimala Mukherjee refused to speak about the school’s communication with the commission.
The commission had also requested the school authorities to give due importance to the guardians’ forum and hold an interaction to maintain transparency.
The guardians’ forum had been constituted in the wake of the previous incident.
But the school has said in its response that they could not meet the members of the guardian forum because of a court order, said Chatterjee Chakraborti.
“But they have not cited any court order that barred the school authorities from engaging with the guardian forum. As chairperson of the commission I also don’t recollect any court order that disallowed any interaction between the school and the guardians’ forum,” said Chatterjee Chakraborti.
“This would also be mentioned in the letter that we hope to send to the school by Thursday,” she said.