What could a school gift students on Children's Day? The obvious guess would be books or in some cases a cash award. But Holman School in Agra opted for a rather dubious option, choosing to give away beer bottles and playing cards as prizes during a "Bal Mela" organised on the school premises.
When contacted by HT, school principal Sanjeev Loyal said, "I have constituted a probe committee to find out how beer bottles and playing cards were distributed as prizes. I have asked teachers about it and they have feigned complete ignorance. Maybe these stuff were brought by someone from outside to malign the image of the school."
Sources said various game shows and plays were held and a number of stalls set up in the school as part an exhibition-cum-fair held on the occasion of Children's Day. According to Loyal, even the Agra SSP Prem Prakash had taken part in the particular game show (where beer bottles and cards were given as prizes). The SSP, too, said he was not aware of any such incident.
However, a number of students who spoke to HT said "the prizes" had been chosen by the school well in advance.
“It’s shocking that beer bottles and playing cards were given as prizes," said a visibly disturbed parent. A student, on the condition of anonymity, said: “At one stall, there was a game show where students could win these items. While most parents were stunned, teachers encouraged students to try and win more bottles.”