Stunned by the stripping of a seven-year-old student by her schoolteacher for failing to do her homework, Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Sunday ordered an enquiry into the incident.
A 19-year-old teacher forced Rakhi, an upper kindergarten student at the private Star Shine Public School in Uttam Nagar in west Delhi, to strip in front of her class when she said that she had not done her homework.
The matter came to light when Rakhi refused to go to school the next day, Saturday. After gentle prodding by her mother, she narrated her horror tale.
"I was asked to strip in front of the entire class and then stand on the desk. My hands were tied behind with a rope. All my classmates kept mocking me throughout the day," said a shocked Rakhi.
The teacher, identified only as Neha, was arrested after the victim's father Gopal Das, who runs a catering business, reported the matter to the police. The teacher has been released on bail.
"The teacher is just 19 years old and is not even well qualified. How can she teach our children? And to top it all, this is how she treats the kids. When I went to the school after the incident, I could find no one to talk to," said her father.
Reacting to the callous incident, Dikshit has asked the education secretary to file a report.
The central ministry of women and child development (MWCD) has threatened to cancel the school's licence.
While the school principal remains incommunicado, there has been strong reaction from all quarters.
According to Bharati Sharma, chairperson of the Child Development Committee, such a case demands a non-bailable warrant because it shakes the belief and trust that a student has for his or her teacher.
"Such incidents are a black mark on the entire education system. A student looks up to his teacher, trusts him implicitly. An incident such as this not only shakes the belief of a student on his teacher but paints the entire teacher community in a poor light," said Barkha Misra, a teacher.