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School keeps gate shut over protests

Furore over the death of 17-year-old student Akkriti Bhatia disrupted functioning of Modern School, Vasant Vihar, for yet another day as students were greeted with closed school gates on Friday morning, reports Ritika Chopra.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2009 00:33 IST

Furore over the death of 17-year-old student Akkriti Bhatia disrupted functioning of Modern School, Vasant Vihar, for yet another day as students were greeted with closed school gates on Friday morning.

The decision to close the institution for a day was made in light of the chaos that was witnessed on Thursday.

“Many parents had suggested yesterday that we close the school on Friday. We made the final decision in consultation with the police. Classes will resume from Monday,” said Ashok Pratap Singh, managing trustee, Modern School Trust.

Throwing further light on the announcement of conducting a school-level inquiry, Singh said, “I’ve decided that the committee will be entirely made up of outsiders. It will be a small group with members from diverse fields such as medicine, law, academics.”

Bhatia, a student of Class XII, had died on her way to the nearest hospital after she suffered an acute asthma attack on Monday morning. Though she had a history of asthma, her family alleges that the tragedy could have been averted had it not been for the negligence and delay caused by the school authorities.

For Bhatia’s family the day was riddled with several developments. While the family had an opportunity to apprise Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhry about their grouse and demands, a show cause notice was issued to Modern School, Vasant Vihar, by the Delhi government.

The department has also sent out a notice to principals of all schools to be more careful about allergies and health problems of students until the summer vacation begins.

Chowdhry, who dubbed the unfortunate death of Bhatia as “systemic failure”, visited the family personally on Friday evening and spent close to one-and-half- hours with them.

“She heard the eyewitness account and assured that she would try her level best to ensure that justice is done,” said Devika Kapur, a family friend.

Friday even saw a few teachers voicing their support for the Bhatias. Harish Chandra Rawat, who takes dance lessons at Modern School, was among those who turned up at the Bhatia house at 29 Siri Fort Road to show solidarity.

Apart from the probe ordered by the government, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights too have sought a report about the incident from the Delhi government within a week.