A day after a girl was raped inside a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)-run school, the authorities on Friday took no steps that would reassure parents that their children, especially girls, were safe at the thousands of schools run by the civic agency in the capital.
Terming the incident as an isolated case, the authorities ruled out deploying guards at MCD-run schools. “It’s an isolated case. Schools run by the civic body remain safe for children,” said Prithvi Raj Sawhney, chairman of MCD’s education committee that plays a key role in the running of these schools.
The remarks seem to overlook a growing feeling among parents that MCD’s schools have become unsafe for girls in the face of a series of sexual assault cases. Over a year ago, the civic body passed an order that male teachers would not be allowed to teach at all-girl schools, an order obviously fuelled by fears of sexual harassment.
The order is still to be implemented. “Currently only male principals serving at such schools are being shifted. We are not shifting the male teachers. However, male teachers seeking voluntary transfer are being shifted,” said one MCD official who did not wish to be named.
Plus, the civic body has constituted a committee to go into cases of sexual harassment. Most of its suggestions, however, have been ignored. The committee was also tasked with mounting an awareness campaign on sexual harassment in MCD schools but even that has not happened.
Some MCD employees on Friday said the rape would not have taken place had the civic body heeded a proposal calling for increasing the duty hours of chowkidars, who now guard the schools at night.
The proposal was made by class IV employees on the civic body’s pay roll. “In several meetings, we demanded that two chowkidars be deployed at MCD schools in shifts,” said Rambir Singh, president, MCD class IV employees’ association, Shahdara zone.