For all 350 students of a government primary school in Jirha near Amethi in Sultanpur district Tuesday must have been the worst day of their lives in school.
The children were held prisoners in the school for more than 10 hours without food or water. This was the punishment meted out to them by headmistress Sudha Rani Pandey after she apparently found Rs 500 ‘stolen’ from her purse.
About a dozen children fainted. The desperate students made several efforts to break open the wooden ventilators and iron grilles, but failed. Unconcerned, the school staff and headmistress left after locking the students.
Shaken over the incident, the Uttar Pradesh education department on Thursday suspended the headmistress.
Rajesh Mishra, father of Sanjana, a student of Class I, told HT on the phone from Amethi that the “act of desperation” on the part of the school was a fallout of occasional thefts on the school premises.
He said that on Monday a Shiksha Mitr working with the school reportedly lost Rs 250 while on Tuesday while the headmistress claimed to have lost Rs 500. The school staff suspected the children for both the thefts without even bothering sto get into the details of complaints.
Worried parents from Jirha village and adjoining areas rushed to the school to hear shrieking and crying from inside the hall. Twenty parents broke open the wooden panes and freed the children.