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Gurugram school murder: Parents claim ‘BJP connection’ protecting Ryan Intl

Catch Team | Updated on: 9 September 2017, 22:22 IST

The police may have arrested the accused in the murder of seven year old Ryan International School student Pradhuman but the school’s troubles are far from over. The school on Saturday suspended Neerja Batra, acting principal of the Gurgaon branch where the murder had taken place on Friday. But that hasn’t appeased the anger of Pradhuman’s family as well as several other parents who continue to protest against the school management.

Heavy security has been deployed at the school since Friday after parents protested and allegedly vandalised school property.

The police has arrested Ashok Kumar, a bus conductor with the school and claimed that he is the main culprit behind the murder. The police claims that Kumar tried to sexually assault the seven-year-old boy and slit his throat as the latter refused his advances. Kumar who hails from Ghamroj village in Haryana was arrested late Friday night.

However, the school will find it difficult to wipe of the stain of negligence that it stands accused of.

The parents protesting outside Ryan Intenational School in Gurugram accused that the school was being protected as it is run by people connected to the BJP that is in power in Haryana as well as the Centre.

 “The school is being protected because it is a completely BJP-backed school. There are pictures of Narendra Modi and Manohar Lal Khattar inside the school premises. The school management and authorities are all BJP supporters,” an angry parent told ABP News.

In 2015, many parents had complained against the Ryan International School management for urging parents and teachers to enroll with the BJP. While the school management claimed the BJP membership drive was voluntary, teachers and student claimed that it was not - in fact, some teachers even claimed their salary had been held back pending their joining the party.

Meanwhile, Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khirwar addressed a press conference on Saturday afternoon and said that the police will file a chargesheet in court within seven days and request for a fast trial of the case. When asked whether the conductor was just a scapegoat the commissioner said, “The conductor’s involvement is confirmed. We are confident we will be able to satisfy all parties after concluding the investigation. If someone else is found involved, action will be taken against them too,” he said. The police also said that the forensic results are still awaited. An audit will also be conducted of schools in Gurugram and their security measures in the next few days, the commissioner said.

The commissioner refrained to reveal too many details of the investigation to the press, saying the investigation is being done in a thorough manner. He did however say that they were unclear about if the accused had a criminal background.

Gurgaon deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh also said that a special public prosecutor will be appointed in case.

The police also did not confirm rumours of students of Ryan International School being asked to clean the bloodstains in the bathroom where the body was found.  In the press conference the commissioner said, “We are not aware of any such incident. We will investigate this information too. If it is true, it is a callous action on the part of the school.”

Meanwhile, the victim’s mother told ANI, “We want a CBI enquiry into the matter. The principal was indifferent when she came to the hospital. Put her in jail. I want to know what happened to my child, I want a CBI probe,” the grieving mother said. Haryana PWD Minister Rao Narbir Singh visited the family of the seven-year-old boy and assured the parents that the probe will be carried out to their satisfaction.

Additionally, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked the school to file a report in the matter within two days. “Ryan International School has been asked to send a report along with FIR filed in this case within two days,” CBSE PRO Rama Sharma told ANI. A fact finding committee has been set up to enquire into the matter and submit its report at the earliest.

Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma as well as the Union Minister for HRD Prakash Javdekar expressed sympathy with the parents of the victim, news agency ANI reported. Javdekar called the incident ‘unfortunate.’

Additionally, Members of the Bar Association of Sohna have decided not to appear on behalf of the accused in the Ryan International School murder case.

On Saturday morning, in a statement, Ryan International School said that they have assured their co-operation to the Police in the investigation. “The police are investigating this matter and we have assured our full support and co-operation towards the investigation of the same. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be dealt with appropriate action. Our hearts and prayers are with the family,” the statement said.

Vinay Pratap Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, has also asked District Education Officer Neelam Bhandari to submit a detailed report on the matter by Sunday.

This is not the first time Ryan International School has found itself in the middle of a controversy regarding the safety of students. Last year, a branch of the same school in Vasant Kunj was accused of criminal negligence after a Class 1 was found dead in a water tank.

The six-year-old’s father had alleged that his son had been sodomised before his death. The magisterial inquiry into the death of Divyansh has pointed out serious lapses and deliberate inaction by school authorities in the case. The principal of the school, Sandhya Sabu, and four others were arrested on charges of causing death due to negligence. All five were later granted bail by a court. No conviction has been made in the case yet.

First published: 9 September 2017, 22:22 IST