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12-year-old raped: Broken wall, no guard shows security lapses at victim’s school

As HT visited the school where the Class-8 student was headed to on Wednesday, an evident lack of security measures emerged.

punjab Updated: Aug 17, 2017 13:42 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
12-year-old raped,Broken wall,no guard
The victim was raped in the Children Traffic Park, adjoining the school, and never reached the institute.(Karun Sharma/HT)

The rape of a 12-year-old girl in Children’s Traffic Park, Sector 23, on Independence Day has once again raised questions about the safety of girls and women in the city.

As HT visited the school where the Class-8 student was headed to on Wednesday, an evident lack of security measures emerged. While the school was shut due to a holiday declared by the administration, HT learnt that the girl was going to school to take part in a music competition as part of the Independence Day celebrations in school.

A student of the same school said, “Only students of Class 7 were part of the celebrations. Also, those taking part in some competition from Class 8 came to school. She was one of them.” The victim though was raped in the Children Traffic Park, adjoining the school, and never reached the institute.

Back gate used by students to bunk school

The girl purportedly took the route via the park from her home for the school. There is a back gate entry that leads to the school from this park. A teacher on the condition of anonymity told HT, “The gate mostly remains shut, except during morning hours and hence on many occasions some kids enter or leave from there. It is not a safe option as students can escape or bunk the classed from this way.”

A student laughingly said, “Even during recess time it is shut, so at times those who want to escape wait after the school hours or right during the morning.” Sources told HT that since the gate was shut that day, the victim walked from there towards the main entry of the school, which is when the accused reached out to her.

The lapses don’t end there. The wall connecting the park and the school is also broken at places, which also throws light on the lack of proper security. Lack of proper boundary walls at city government schools is not a new problem. A sports coach at the school said, “This wall has been fixed many a times but students or outsiders break it and enter school or leave for the park. It’s a constant source of nuisance. The authorities have written to the maintenance department of UT many times about this issue.”

Not following CBSE protocol

To add to it, there was no security guard or watchman at the school entrance the whole day on Wednesday, even though the protocol says one should be present even on holiday. This, in turn, gives the liberty to anyone to enter the school from the gate that wasn’t locked.

After the terrorists struck at a school in Peshwar, Pakistan,Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a circular on December 19, 2014, stressing on the need for a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dealing with terrorist attacks on schools.The schools were asked to adopt preventive measures, including having a concrete boundary wall, with three to four gates and deploying at least three guards at a gate.

No principal at school

When HT tried to contract the authorities about the lapse in security at the school, it emerged that the school cuurently doesn’t have a principal.The vice-principal did not respond to the calls or messages. Meanwhile, director, school education, Rubinderjit Singh Brar said, “We are waiting for the police to complete the inquiry. The investigation will make things clear.”

‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ organiser plans to form legal cell

Sharmita Bhinder, a life coach and lawyer, and one of the organisers of the ‘Bekhauf Azaadi’ march, created a page titled ‘Let’s Be The Change’, on Facebook. A meet is being held on Thursday at Case Bella Vista, Sector 10, Chandigarh, at 4:30pm inviting all those keen to be a part of this initiative. “We will also be forming a legal cell, which would include me and other lawyers to file PIL for fast tracking trial of such cases,” Bhinder told HT. They also plan to reach out to schools and colleges for counselling. Strap Emboldening criminal elements The rape on Independence Day points at glaring loopholes

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 13:42 IST