High drama was witnessed outside DAV Public School, Pakhowal Road, on Wednesday morning when parents protested for around three hours outside the gate in the support of 13-year-old Atharva Gupta, a Class-8 student who jumped off the 5th floor (the top floor) of the school building on September 8.
Parents demanded action against the four schoolteachers accused of beating up Gupta, who is now on ventilator, at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMHC), Ludhiana. Gupta was thrashed because he reportedly talked to a girl student.
During the protest, that started at 7.45am and lasted till 10.30am, the school authorities closed the main gate and didn’t allow the protesting parents to enter the school. Only the parents who were in a favour of school management were allowed to enter the school premises. The female teachers of the school physically encircled the protesting parents, thus restricting their entry to the school. When the parents raised slogans against the school authorities and demanded arrest of the culprit teachers, the female teachers hooted them.
Police force was deployed outside the school to handle the situation and assistant commissioner of police Surinder Mohan tried to pacify the parents to end the protest.
A heated argument ensued between the group of parents supporting Atharva Gupta and those defending the school authorities. With the latter group asking the protesting parents to withdraw their children from the school, if they are not satisfied.
School resorting to threatening tactics, claim parents
A parent, requesting anonymity, said that, “My son is studying in Class-4 and his classmates have been warned by their teachers to not to give any statement to anyone. If they do so then, the school will deduct marks in the internal assessment.”
Another parent, who wished not to be named, said, “Where is the CCTV footage? Why is the school not coming out with the footage if they are honest? For the last two hours we have been protesting outside the school and the principal has not bothered to come out and talk to the parents.”
Student Organisation of India (SOI) leader Meetpal Singh Dugri reached the school at 9.30am. He said, “I don’t want to make it a political issue and that’s why I didn’t come in the morning. But when I started receiving calls from parents, I decided to come here and exhort the parents to end the protest.”
SP Gupta, Atharva Gupta’s uncle, said, “After first information report (FIR) was lodged against the school principal and the four teachers, the school stopped providing financial aid for the treatment of Atharva. Earlier the school has deputed teachers on rotation basis at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital but today no teacher has come to see Atharva Gupta.”
Questions haunt parents
* Where is the CCTV footage?
* Why the school authorities did not inform the police about this incident and
* Why they have not taken any action against the accused teachers?
CBI inquiry sought
The city-based non-government organisation (NGO) Mahatar Sathi Jagriti Manch has written to Rajnath Singh, Union home minister and national commission for protection of child right, New Delhi, to mark a CBI inquiry into the case. They asserted that to uncover the truth in this case, the accused teachers must take lie detector or polygraph test. School principal Satwant Kaur Bhullar could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts.