Around 150 students, and their parents, of Government Girls/Boys Senior Secondary School, Shahbad Dairy, on Friday blocked Bawana Road on Friday to protest against “constant threat and harassments” that the students were being subjected to.
The protesters, armed with posters that read “Open our school”, and shouting slogans like Fulfill our demands, sat on the Bawana Road and blocked traffic for one hour.
The protesters said last year, the government found the school building unsafe. Officials later divided the 8,000 students of this school and shifted them to another government school in Pul Prahlad Pur, 3km away.
Ever since the shifting, protesters alleged, students — both boys and girls — who shifted from Shahbad Dairy were being constantly beaten up and verbally abused by the students at the Pul Prahlad Pur school.
The Shahbad Dairy school underwent repairs and was rebuilt in 2012. But, within three years it was declared unsafe, after a student was injured due to electrocution and the building started developing cracks.
“We are tired of this. Everyday our children are being beaten. The students of Pul Prahlad Pur school even whip out countrymade pistols and threaten our kids. When we try to complain, the principal tells us that the fight happened outside the school premises and he can do nothing about it,” said the mother of a Class IX student who was beaten up and sustained injuries to his head.
Another Class 7 student, Sandeep Giri, added, “They do not let us study. For the mischief that they do, students of Shahbad Dairy are blamed.”
Ever since the Shahbad Dairy school shifted, the Pul Prahlad Pur school has been working in two shifts — mornings for girls and evenings for boys.
“They (Pul Prahlad Pur school students) blame us and say that because of us they had to be shifted to the evening batch from the morning,” said Umesh, a Class 11 student.
Most Delhi government schools run in two shifts —morning for girls, evening for boys.
The students also alleged that they had to walk all the way to their new school on the main highway and no buses stopped for them.
“We are poor people and cannot afford private transport. After our kids started being attacked, the parents come and drop and pick them up, which means spending more money,” said Satwanti, whose two sons study in the school.
The protesters said that their woes might not end anyime soon as renovation of the Shahbad Dairy School has not even started.
The students said despite repeated attempts, neither the government neither nor the local MLA had done anything to help them, forcing them to take the protest path.
Teachers of both the schools acknowledged that there was a problem.
“The problem started due to the shifting. The school is facing a problem of overcrowding,” said a senior teacher of the Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Pul Prahlad Pur.
Meanwhile, Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia, said that demolition of the school building will begin soon and acknowledges the delay.
“As per financial norms, there is a definite period of time before which a demolition of any building can take place. The permission for demolition has to be obtained from five to six departments. As the building is being demolished beforehand, a vigilance enquiry against the engineers also has to be initiated. This school was built just in 2012, so the delay took place. Now the clearance for the demolition has been obtained, so the process will start soon,” Marlena said.
Aware about the complaints of violence, she said that the government is thinking of asking parents to intervene. “We will soon bring the school management committee members of both the schools together and ask them to find solutions to this violence. From the administrative point of view, the principal actually doesn’t have control over things that happen outside the school premises,” she said.