Government recognition given to a private school in Hyderabad, where a 4-year-old child was allegedly raped for two months, should be rescinded immediately, and students should be accommodated in other schools, the education minister has ordered. Telangana, Sabitha Indra Reddy.
The minister also ordered that a committee headed by the Telangana education secretary submit a report to the government on what security measures can be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The members of the committee will be the director of school education, the secretary of the department for the protection of women and children and a senior official in charge of the protection of children against sexual offences. The report must be submitted within a week.
The Banjara Hills area school was closed after the incident became public knowledge. The school principal’s driver, accused of raping and sexually assaulting the child for more than two months, was arrested on Wednesday. Later, the school principal, who allegedly laughed at the abuse complaint and did not act on it, was also arrested, following protests from parents.
The parents had noticed behavioral changes in the child and when the mother inquired with the child, she realized that something was very wrong. The child reportedly pointed to the driver who had access to the children inside the school.
The angry parents assaulted the driver and sat on a dharna outside the Banjara Hills police station, after which an FIR was recorded.
An investigation revealed that the school’s surveillance cameras were not working and that the driver had often taken on the role of teacher for the pre-primary section.
While the Minister intended to send a strong message to school administrators about the importance that must be given to the safety of children, the order to close the school and move the children also caused much concern among parents and government officials.
There are 700 students studying in the school and finding places for them in other schools, also in the middle of the school year, is going to be a big challenge.
Although the minister said the district education officer would address any concerns from students and parents, closing the school and moving them elsewhere does not seem like a practical option, senior officials said.
Already, the law to prevent sexual crimes against children as well as the directives to keep children safe at home and in schools, mention in detail the protocols to be followed. But regulation and implementation have been a challenge.
Sunitha Krishnan Award-winning social activist Padmashree, who has advocated for the need for a public register of known sex offenders for years, reiterated the demand following the incident.
She said the database should be used when making appointments at schools and other institutions.
Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao responded positively to Ms Krishnan’s tweet and said the government was keen to act quickly on the matter.