Three months after the UT education department assured that it would help the children associated with Theatre Age continue with their training, the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) on Monday constituted a committee to inquire if the department fulfilled its promise.
A day after Zulfiqar ’s arrest in July this year, the UT education department had assured the CCPCR that it would not let the 50 children suffer due to Zulfiqar Khan and would also provide them counselling and extra rooms for dance and drama classes.
A two-member committee comprising child welfare committee (CWC) director Neil Roberts and its law officer Kartar Singh will be submitting a detailed report to the CCPCR chairperson, after visiting Government High School, Sector 24, where the social welfare department had provided two rooms for training children after school hours. Sources said the members will also be visiting the complainant, Kanwarpal, who blew the whistle on Zulfiqar Khan’s wrongdoings, to examine the model of his non-governmental organisation (NGO) and check its credentials.
‘Parents reluctant to send their kids’
The UT education department, reportedly, appointed a junior basic teacher for the Theatre Age students at the Sector 24 school only 15 days ago. The school head says that a majority of parents are now reluctant to send their kids for coaching after school hours.
Headmistress Inder Mohan Kaur said: “10 students of our school were undergoing training at Theatre Age after school. Following the arrest of Zulfiqar Khan, we had decided to provide them after-school training, but the social welfare department had asked these students to get a consent letter signed from their parents if they wished to attend training classes after school hours.”
“It seems as if the parents are not willing to send their children to school after 2pm now, considering Zulfiqar’s incident. Of those 10 students, only three have submitted the signed consent letter,” she said.
A teacher who has been taking remedial classes for these children after school said: “Theatre Age was a medium of enjoyment for students, where they not only got trained in dance and drama, but also got good food to eat and took part in small parties. However, now the two-hour training has become a burden for the students; it is a like a punishment to be in school after 2pm.”
Director public instructions (schools) Rubinderjit Singh Brar, meanwhile, was not aware of the CCPCR orders and said, “I am not in a position to comment.”