Citing safety concerns, the parents of at least 38 girls have stopped sending them to a school in a village in Haryana where a student was allegedly raped last month.
Deputy commissioner of Rewari, Yash Garg, said the girls’ families stopped sending them to the government school in neighbouring Lala village, where a student was allegedly raped on April 18.
Parents withdrew their children, studying in classes 9 and 10, from the school. The panchayat of Suma Khera village has also demanded that the primary school should be upgraded to the senior secondary level, Garg said.
The panchayat said they were forced to send their children to the neighbouring Lala village as Suma Khera had only one primary school. It has announced an indefinite protest till the school is upgraded.
The panchayat on Friday decided to launch an indefinite dharna if the state government failed to upgrade the primary school in Suma Khera even as district authorities assured them that their children will be safe in Lala village, Garg said.
“We have also arranged teachers in Suma Khera so that the girls’ could continue with their studies,” he said.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar told reporters he was hopeful that people of both villages will reach a settlement and offered to upgrade the primary school in Suma Khera to Class 8.
The villagers, however, have turned down the offer and stand firm on their demands, the DC said. “Now state education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, along with two of his cabinet colleagues, will hold a meeting with villagers to discuss the issue,” he said.
Families from Kotapuri village have also stopped sending their children to the government school in Lala village, Garg said.
Opposition INLD attacked the Manohar Lal Khattar government on Saturday over the issue, saying it “boasts of ‘Beti-Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign for the girl child but the sad reality is that girls are not feeling safe and parents are forced to withdraw them from schools”.
“The BJP government is not bothered about actual problems. While it speaks of Beti Bachao and teaching Gita in schools, the truth is that girls are not feeling safe and there are not enough teachers,” INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala said.