It has taken Anjali Kumari and her family close to a week to overcome fear and openly talk about the reported humiliation she experienced at the hands of her school principal on October 14.
A Class XII student of Government Girls' Senior Secondary School in Khichripur, Kumari was allegedly assaulted by principal Manorama Rani Singh in front of her class.
This punishment was meted out because she questioned the lack of basic facilities — potable drinking water and clean toilets — and poor infrastructure in the school.
She had filed a written complaint addressed to the regional director, education, (a copy of which is with Hindustan Times) on July 22. Thirty out of the total 34 students in Kumari’s class had also signed the complaint.
“The toilets are locked most of the time and we are not allowed to use the one meant for teachers. Drinking water is not potable and students have to study in unbearable heat as most fans don’t work,” Kumari added.
“Though I had filed the complaint in July, it seems that she came to know of it only recently. On October 14 she called me to her office and started hitting me. She slapped me and pulled my hair. She then took me to my class where she did the same in front of my classmates. I started bleeding from my ear and was unconscious for a while,” she said.
Teachers at the school have acknowledged the incident but refused to be identified. HT went to the school to get a comment from the principal. She was not present. Teachers refused to give her contact details. HT then contacted director (education) who is in charge of all Delhi government schools.
“The directorate will not tolerate corporal punishment. Though I haven’t received any formal complaint yet, I will look into the matter. As for the state of infrastructure, the school in Khichripur is among the 198 schools that are covered under the government’s Rupantar Scheme. The government and Delhi Industrial State Development Cooperation will be refurbishing these schools and work has begun already,” said Chandra Bhushan Kumar, director, education.
Kumari was inspired by changes that took place at Indu Bhushan Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, West Vinod Nagar, last year after 50 students had filed an RTI application regarding the dismal state of the infrastructure here. She learnt about the incident at Maksad, a centre jointly run by Josh and an NGO Institute of Social Studies Trust.