Ryan murder: Management booked, police hit parents with lathis
Ryan International School has said its management is “cooperating to our fullest” with the police investigations and hoped that the guilty would be given the severest punishment as per the law.gurgaon Updated: Sep 11, 2017 19:44 IST
The Ryan International School management was charged on Sunday with cruelty to a child after the murder of an eight-year-old student, but the move didn’t pacify angry parents demanding a CBI investigation.
Hundreds of parents tried to enter the private school in Bhondsi, near Gurgaon, prompting police to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
About a dozen people were detained for arson and rioting and many more wounded in the police action. Cameras of some photojournalists were also damaged in the clashes.
The parents want the school shut until a CBI inquiry is ordered and stricter legal provisions are slapped against the management for the murder of a Class 2 boy on Friday.
Ashok Kumar, a 42-year-old bus conductor, was arrested after publicly confessing to slitting the throat of the student who he tried to sexually abuse inside the toilet at Ryan International.
He worked for a security agency contracted by the school.
The demonstrators torched a liquor shop about 50 metres from the school and threw bottles into the school campus, police said.
The people alleged bus drivers and conductors often bought alcohol from the shop and got drunk.
Police also lathi-charged villagers at Ghamroj when they tried to block a highway demanding security to the suspected murderer’s family, saying he was framed.
Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma ruled out closing the school as “the future of 1,200 students is at stake”, but promised zero leniency against the management for inadequate security measures on the campus.
“There is no boundary wall of the school. No separate toilets for drivers and conductors of 40 buses of the school, and windows in the toilet meant for students were found broken,” he said.
Besides, the school didn’t check the background of the bus conductor.
The suspect was sacked by a private school in Ghamroj, his native village near Gurgaon, eight months ago for his “sexually predatory behaviour”, police investigations revealed on Saturday.
The education minister said the school is charged under Section 75 of the juvenile justice act, a provision in the law that deals with cruelty against children.
“The name of the school owner and management officials may be added.”
Sharma promised to get the charge-sheet ready in a week and financial help to the murdered boy’s parents, if they seek.
“If the child’s parents are not satisfied we can get the case investigated by any agency, including the CBI,” he said.
Police too said additional charges will be added in the FIR after a three-member committee formed by the district administration submits its report on Monday.
The boy’s father demanded a CBI inquiry and said police should charge the school management with death due to negligence under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.
“The police probe is fine but what is wrong in holding a parallel CBI inquiry to find out the truth as something is missing in the case. Action should be taken against school,” he said.
A relative later told ANI that the family will approach the Supreme Court on Monday.
The protests and lathi-charge took a political colour as opposition parties accused the government of using excessive force against the people.
The crowd apparently went out of control after police stopped Bihar parliamentarian Rajesh Ranjan, aka Pappu Yadav, from addressing the gathering outside the school.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited the boy’s family and said: “In democracy, governments don’t work with lathis and bullets.”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the assault on protesters and reporters point to failure of the Manohar Lal Khattar government in the state.
Police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar denied charges of mediapersons being targeted by the cops.
“A fair warning was given to clear the place and nobody was targeted. However, if any mediaperson was injured, then I express my regret,” he said.
The school management requested for restraint in a statement.
“As the investigations are on, we request all parties concerned to refrain from holding Ryan school culpable of a crime where it is itself a victim of unfortunate circumstances … We should not unjustly be blamed or branded as the perpetrators.”
According to the education minister, managements of all private schools in the state would be made responsible and accountable for taking the students from home to school and back home.
“Guidelines would be issued to all schools on Monday,” he told reporters.
Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi suggested that drivers, conductors and non-teaching staff in schools should be women to prevent sexual assaults on children.
Such a clause is present in the draft of the national women’s policy, which was approved by a group of ministers in July and awaiting the cabinet’s authorisation, she said.
(with agency inputs)