New Delhi: The murder of a seven-year-old student in Ryan International School in Gurugram snowballed into a big controversy on Sunday after police lathicharged protesters demanding the arrest of the school management.
According to reports, at least 50 people were injured in the lathicharge, including some journalists, after a liquor shop was allegedly set on fire. Cameras of some photojournalists were also damaged during the protest.
Some of the demonstrators even threw liquor bottles inside school premises, police told PTI. The liquor shop is barely 50 m from the school.
"The Gurugram Police had to use mild lathicharge to disperse the agitators. The police detained over 20 protesters found agitating outside the school," Ravinder Kumar, PRO Gurugram Police, told PTI.
Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khirwar denied the charges of targeting media persons.
The protesters deny the police version that the protest had turned violent which necessitated the lathicharge. "We were protesting peacefully outside the school but police suddenly baton-charged us without any provocation," a protestor told IANS.
The protesters were demanding that the school should be shut until a CBI probe is ordered into the incident. They also alleged that school drivers and conductors often consume alcohol from the liquor shop in their free time.
A panel constituted to look into shortcomings of the school has submitted their report to the Gurugram police. The report, accessed by CNN-News18, has highlighted the poor security at the school, particularly the lack of separate toilets for male and female students.
Based on the report, Gurugram Deputy Commissioner of Police has recommended strict action against the school.
Meanwhile, Haryana Education Minister Rambilas Sharma said that the management of Ryan International School, Gurugram, and owner will be booked under the Juvenile Act.
Sharma said the Haryana government was not averse to recommending a CBI probe. He also alleged that there have been lapses on part of the school administration.
"We accept negligence on part of the Ryan International School but the school cannot be derecognised as the future of 1,200 students is at stake," he told PTI.
"We have directed the Gurgaon Police to book the owner of Ryan International School, Albert Pinto, under section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Punishment) Act, 2015, for cruelty to a child meted out by the custodian in the charge sheet to be submitted in the court within 7 days. Some loopholes in the security are visible in the case and the toilet window was also found broken from inside," he added.
The body of Pradyuman Thakur whose body was found around 8 am on Friday by another student in the school’s washroom. His throat had been slit and a knife was found next to the body.
The school's acting principal was suspended and the security staff removed. The police claimed the student was killed by school bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who tried to sexually abuse him.
The case has acquired political overtones with opposition condemning the lathicharge on protesters.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda told PTI, "People's anger in this case is a natural reaction. A heinous crime has been committed, an innocent child has been murdered. If parents of the child want a CBI probe into the case, the government should not hesitate."
On the lathicharge he said, “I have come to know that even media persons on duty have been lathicharged in Gurgaon today and have sustained injuries and equipment of some of them got damaged as a result.”
"This government has lost the trust and confidence of the public. By assaulting mediapersons, the government is trying to suppress voice of the people," he added.
Ryan International Schools CEO, meanwhile, has responded to the accusations against the school saying that the intvestgation so far does not hold Ryan responsible for the crime.The school won't succumb to "false allegations", he added.
(With Agency inputs)